'Training Kicks In,' Wyandotte Firefighter Says of Rescuing Teen from Burning House

Patch editor Nate Stemen caught up with Matt Flood of the Wyandotte Fire Department, who recently rescued a 14-year-old boy from a burning house on Oak Street in Wyandotte.

As Wyandotte Firefighter Matt Flood ascended a ladder to a window where smoke billowed into the morning air and a 14-year-old boy struggled to breathe, he recalled thinking about nothing in particular.

"Training kicks in and you're not really thinking," Flood said. "You're just doing."

Flood, 32, of Carleton, was one of several firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel who responded to a house fire at 303 Oak Street early Sunday morning.

Flood said the boy mistakenly attempted to climb down the ladder head first. Flood gave verbal commands to right the situation and got the boy to safety.

"I don't think he knew what was going on," Flood said. "I would imagine he was scared."

The fire at 303 Oak was the first time Flood saw a person "hanging out the window" of a burning house as he arrived on the scene.

"It was pretty surreal," Flood said.

The boy became trapped on the second floor of his two-story home after the fire blocked his ability to exit the house, according to Chief Jeffery Carley of the Wyandotte Fire Department.

Carley said the boy's 15-year-old brother began making food in the kitchen and stepped away for a short time. He returned to find fire beginning to engulf the kitchen.

The brother unsuccessfully attempted to extinguish the fire using a small fire extinguisher. He then exited the house with his younger brother still inside and unable to get out of the house.

"The stairwell was right off the kitchen and the house was filling with smoke," Carley said.

Both Flood and Carley credited Wyandotte police officers and mutual aid from the Riverview and Southgate fire departments for assisting in putting out the fire and rescuing the boy.

Carley submitted a formal commendation for the Wyandotte police officers on the scene that morning.

Carley said the house sustained about $50,000 in damage. The teens and their father Chris Harris, who was at choir practice at St. Patrick Catholic Church at the time of the incident, might not be able to move back in for several months, according to Carley.

Harris and his boys moved into the rectory at the recently closed St. Elizabeth Catholic Church following the fire.

Both teens sustained minor injuries and smoke inhalation and were treated by paramedics at the scene, Carley said. The teens did not require further treatment.

Flood said rescuing the boy from the window was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

"I don't think that I did anything that any one of our guys wouldn't have done," Flood said.

Harris could not be reached for comment.

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Karen Gambino April 25, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Thanks to our first responders--so proud of them. Thank God they "were in the right place at the rjght time".
Melanie April 25, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Thank you for all that you do!
Jeff Powers April 25, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Atta boy Flood!
Kris Long April 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Good job Flood!!!
STEPH BRANDT April 28, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Penny April 28, 2013 at 02:07 PM
Great job Flood we are so proud of you your my man. Your guys keep safe love to all our fire fighters


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