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Vero Beach Fla--Woman Rescued From Burning House

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  • Vero Beach Fla--Woman Rescued From Burning House

    Woman rescued from smoky fire
    By Henry A. Stephens staff writer
    May 28, 2003

    A 75-year-old Vero Beach woman was rescued from her burning home by an Indian River County Sheriff's deputy Tuesday evening.

    Elsie Goodwin's 3606 11th St. home caught fire and she was admitted to Indian River Memorial Hospital in fair condition, hospital officials said.

    Deputy Doug MacKenzie was treated in the emergency room for smoke inhalation and released in good condition, sheriff's spokesman Deputy Joe Flescher said.

    Fire Capt. Robert von Buelow, the county arson inspector, later listed the fire as an accident that started in the second-floor kitchen area with the coffee pot, Flescher said.

    Goodwin's son, Buddy Goodwin, said he had just returned home from his job as a pool cleaner and started to take a shower shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday when he heard his mother call for help from her second-floor bedroom.

    "I called 911 and found out my mother had already done that," the younger Goodwin said.

    He said his mother has rheumatoid spinal arthritis and has trouble getting out of bed.

    Buddy Goodwin, who lives on the first floor, said he tried to go upstairs, but with all the smoke, "I couldn't even get past the front door."

    Flescher said the elder Goodwin called 911 at 6:03 p.m., stating her house was full of smoke, she couldn't breathe and that she was not able to get out of bed.

    Three minutes later, Flescher said, MacKenzie arrived at the house, spotted the smoke billowing from the roof and climbed to the second-floor balcony to rescue the woman.

    "There was smoke everywhere," 10-year-old neighbor Sydney Sanders said. "It was very hot. You could feel the heat (out on the street)."

    Flescher said MacKenzie went "above and beyond" his duty by entering Goodwin's smoke-filled room without "bunker gear" — the protective suit worn by firefighters — and ushering her out to the balcony.

    "We don't usually have the occasion to need bunker gear, but in a time of emergency, we're all called to protect lives," Flescher said.

    "If there hadn't been that balcony, she would have been trapped," county Fire Capt. Joe Earman said.

    Earman said firefighters took Elsie Goodwin down from the balcony to the ground, where paramedics rushed her to the hospital.

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