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Mass. firefighters rescue 3 occupants, including wheelchair-bound woman, from house fire

New Bedford Lt. Steven Torres reportedly used his body to shield the woman from flames as he carried her down the stairs


Photo/New Bedford Fire Department

Tristan Smith

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A New Bedford Fire Lieutenant has been touted as a hero after he used his body to protect a wheelchair-bound grandmother from flames and strong heat during a fire rescue on Monday morning.

New Bedford firefighters responded to a report of a home on fire at 108 Tremont St. on Monday morning at 7:16 a.m., after one resident inside the home told 911 dispatchers a fire trapped them on the building’s third floor — where the fire started, according to the New Bedford Fire Department.

Once authorities arrived at the scene, firefighters were able to confirm that three tenants were trapped on the building’s third floor. New Bedford Fire Department District Chief Scott Gomes proceeded to make his way up the rear stairs to the third floor, located an older man and carried him to safety.

Another male resident trapped in the fire managed to climb his way out the third-floor window onto the building’s roof, where firefighters were able to meet him and use a ladder to rescue him, according to the department.

An older wheelchair-bound grandmother was the last resident trapped on the building’s third floor. New Bedford Fire Lieutenant Steven Torres climbed his way up the building and rescued the wheelchair-bound woman.

New Bedford fire officials said Torres used his body to shield the woman from flames. Torres’ protective gear was able to protect her under extreme fire conditions, according to the department.

Torres carried the grandmother down the rear stairs and out of the building where she was treated by paramedics and transported to St. Luke’s Emergency Department to be stabilized.

The grandmother is currently in serious condition and is receiving treatment at Rhode Island Hospital Trauma Center.

Six residents of the three-family home were displaced by the fire and are now receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the New Bedford Police Department.


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