Cleveland fire battalion chief ran into burning home to look for woman trapped inside

September 2, 2018

Cleveland fire battalion chief ran into burning home to look for woman trapped inside

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Cleveland Fire Department battalion chief came across a burning home on Sunday afternoon, then ran inside to search for a trapped woman, authorities said.

Fifth Battalion Chief William Gorey suffered second-degree burns on his hands as he searched the home on East 116th Street near Kinsman Road. Other firefighters arrived minutes later and pulled a 26-year-old woman from the residence.

The woman was taken to MetroHealth, where she is listed in critical condition, authorities said.

Gorey was driving in the area about 12:30 p.m. when he saw smoke in the air. He discovered the house fire and immediately called for backup, he said in a phone interview with cleveland.com.

But a family member at the scene told him that her sister was still trapped inside. He knew his backup was still several minutes away, so he grabbed his gear from his SUV and ran into the home, he said.

“This is somebody’s family,” he said. ”[I thought], I’ve got to do something.”

Gorey’s glove fell off his hand as he searched the house. He searched a bedroom, then burned his hand as he closed the bedroom door to stop the fire from spreading, he said.

When backup arrived, Gorey directed firefighters toward the back of the home. They quickly found the woman in a bathroom and pulled her to safety.

She was taken to University Hospitals before being transferred to MetroHealth’s burn unit, Gorey said.

Gorey, a 20-year veteran firefighter, said he thought of his own wife and four children when he decided to run into the home.

“I could possibly save this woman’s life,” he explained. “So I’m going to go in there and do what I’ve been trained.”

Gorey also went to MetroHealth for treatment.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, Cleveland Fire Department spokesman Lt. Michael Norman said.

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