Firefighters recount effort to save man from burning home


Scott Kauffman and Sage Mutter didn't have time to put on turnout gear when they heard someone inside a burning house screaming for help.

"It's the last thing we should ever do is go into a house without an air pack, a burning house filling up with smoke," said Kauffman.

They, along with firefighter Jesse Cook, were the first volunteers from the Eastern Berks Fire Department on the scene of a fire in the 500 block of Lenape Road in Washington Township on Sunday.

Cook couldn't make it to be interviewed Tuesday, but Kauffman and Mutter said they didn't think twice when they heard the screams from the man, who was in a wheelchair.

"We got into the room where we found the guy," Mutter recalled. "There was two windows and we wanted to get out, but we couldn't go back down the hallway."

Mutter said once he found the man, there was no other way for him to get out. He and Cook jumped out a second-floor window.

"As soon as I got out of the window, I ran to the truck to grab a pack so I could go back, because I knew where he was," said Mutter.

Mutter and Kauffman admitted at first they didn't think they could rescue the man, and despite the fact that they did, they couldn't go to sleep that night. Still, both said they'd do it again. /p>

"You ask me why I do it. Sometimes, I wonder why," said Kauffman. "Never been paid a dime in my life to do it."

The victim, Richard Minford, remains hospitalized in critical condition.