Booker was returning home last night from an interview with News 12 when he spotted a two-story building in his Upper Clinton Hill neighborhood engulfed in flames. A member of his security team, Det. Alex Rodriguez, was already on the scene, helping evacuate residents.
According to Newark Fire Director Fateen Ziyad, the mayor arrived with the rest of his security detail and dashed inside, heading for the second floor. He told the Star Ledger he heard a woman shout "I'm upstairs." At first, Rodriguez and the two other detectives refused to let him go in. "She is going to die," Booker yelled, freeing himself from the detail.
Once inside, Booker said he saw the flames behind him and "was at peace with the fact that I was going to jump out the window." Luckily, it didn't come to that. He found the woman in the bedroom, "grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," and carried her out of the building in his arms, assisted by his security team.
Having suffered smoke inhalation and second-degree burns on his hand, the mayor was transported to University Hospital, where he is presently recovering. "Thanks 2 all who are concerned," he tweeted earlier. "Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."
The woman Booker rescued sustained back and neck burns, but is in stable condition at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. All other residents were reportedly fine. It remains unclear what started the fire.