EXCLUSIVE: Heroes talk about rescuing tavern owner from fire in New Jersey

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Jim Dolan reports from Whippany.

A vicious fire in New Jersey that destroyed an iconic and historic tavern in the Morris County Town of Hanover could have easily been deadly.

Instead, two heroes who saw the fire helped the tavern's owner get out alive.

Billy and Madeline's is a quirky little tavern, the kind of place that doesn't need a welcome mat. You're welcome here. It's pretty obvious. Well, it's closed now since Monday's fire. Andrew Mottram was nearby.

"As we rounded the building, we saw the smoke and we could hear a woman screaming from the building. She couldn't get out because of the smoke," he said Tuesday night.

The woman was Madeline, one of the bar owners and she was calling for help from a second floor window, with smoke pouring out around her.

Mottram is 6'9." His friend Kevin Baumann came up with a plan to rescue Madeline.

We were trying to find a way to get up to that second floor area," Kevin said. "Andy was the tallest guy here, I was the shortest, so I climbed up his back and pulled myself up to the landing."

"I leaned up against the wall right here," Andrew told Eyewitness News at the tavern. "He just climbed up my back and got to Madeline."

Kevin pulled Madeline out of the window and lowered her down to Andrew.

"When he got Madeline out, he lowered her down to me," Andrew said. "I was able to grab her and get her down."

Madeline was hospitalized briefly, but she's fine. As for Andrew, he wanted to be a fireman when he was young but couldn't because of a minor heart issue. It didn't stop him from being a hero.

"I actually wanted to join the fire department, but they wouldn't let me because of my heart," he said. But yesterday, I got to save someone anyway."

Related Topics:
building firefire rescueMorris County
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