Mike Grant and his co-worker James Skerry were leaving for work from Grant’s home on Dustin Street when they saw smoke coming from Murdock Street in Brighton this morning.
Grant, who has a construction company, said they drove toward the smoke to the burning building.
“We saw fire on the first floor in the back and smoke billowing out every window,” Grant said in a telephone interview.
Firefighters had yet to arrive on the scene, but some people had evacuated the burning home, he said.
Grant said he and Skerry went into the home through the front door, where they saw “pitch-black smoke” filling the main stairwell.
Grant said they ran up the stairs with flashlights yelling, “Come out! Come out! Just follow my voice!”
On the second-floor landing, Grant said they encountered a young boy, who had a bloody mouth. He said he believed the boy injured himself going down the stairs.
They escorted the boy out of the home and then ran back inside, he said.
On the second floor, they encountered a woman with a newborn baby and a man, Grant said. They also escorted them out of the house, she said.
When they got outside, Grant said he and Skerry saw a young girl dangling from a window.
“She was just hanging out the window,” he said.
Grant said he and Skerry got a 32-foot ladder from their vehicle and ran it up the window to the girl, who he estimated to be 13 to 14 years old. She didn’t say anything, he said.
“She was just shaking,” Grant said.
He said he grabbed her foot and put it on the ladder and then rested her buttocks on his shoulder to guide her down the ladder.
“By that time, the flames were licking out the windows,” he said.
When they reached the ground, the girl thanked him, Grant said.
“She seemed OK,” he said. Grant added that he believed the girl didn’t speak much English.
Firefighters were pulling up as the girl was rescued, Grant said. He said he and Skerry then left for work.
“My nerves are still shot,” Grant said.
One person died in the four-alarm blaze, which was reported at about 7:30 a.m., officials said this morning. Nine people were also injured, and at least two dozen were potentially homeless.