The mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker rescued a woman from a house fire late Thursday. Addressing the heroic act at a press conference on Friday, Mr. Booker said he was a not a superhero but was just doing “what most neighbors would do” when he ran into a burning house to save a woman.
According to reports, Cory Booker, the mayor of New Jersey's largest city, Newark, arrived at his home on Thursday night to find his next-door neighbor's house in flames. He told reporters that his neighbor’s middle-aged daughter was trapped upstairs and was crying for help.
42-year-old Cory Booker said at the press conference outside the boarded-up home on Friday that he and his bodyguard, Police Detective, went into his neighbor’s kitchen and when the mayor tried to go deeper, the bodyguard tried to stop him. Booker recalled that he whipped around and reminded Rodriguez that he was his commanding officer and not the other way around.
The mayor broke free and tread upstairs to the second-floor bedroom to save the woman, 47-year-old Zina Hodge, whom he had known for years. “It was a really frightening experience for me. I didn’t think we were going to get out of there,” Mayor Cory Booker said, according to ABCNews.com.
Mr. Booker went on to say that it was very difficult to breathe as he looked for Zina Hodge. “I did not feel bravery, I felt terror. It was a very scary moment. I couldn’t breathe. It was a moment I felt very religious,” he added.
"I suddenly had the realization that I can't find this woman." Booker said, according to Huffington Post. "I look behind me and see the flames and I think 'I'm not going to get out of here.' Suddenly I was at peace with the fact that I was going to jump out the window."
"I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," Booker said. As soon as they found their way downstairs, they collapsed, Booker said. After the fire department arrived, the two were transported to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and second-degree burns.
Although Mayor Cory Booker was released on Thursday night with a bandage on his right hand, Hodge was listed in serious condition Friday in the ICU of the burn center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. The hospital did not reveal details of her injuries.