Mother And Infant Rescued From A Raging House Fire

ByShako Liu Localish logo
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 1:00PM
Mother And Infant Rescued From A Raging House Fire
This mother and infant have a tearful reunion with the firefighters who rescued their family of seven from a raging house fire.A family of seven, including a baby, was rescued from a house fire.

New Jersey -- On the night of December 16, 2023, Megan Iwasaki and her fiance, Leonardo Moyoli, found themselves amid a terrifying house fire that trapped them, their visiting family members, and their 8-month-old baby, Leah.

As the couple enjoyed a peaceful gathering with family, a sudden fire engulfed a section of their house, leaving them with a single escape route the staircase and hallway completely consumed by flames. In a desperate bid for survival, Iwasaki and her family retreated to the windows facing the street, seeking a lifeline amidst the chaos and danger.

"It was very hot. You really couldn't see anything. Everything caught on fire very fast and it was very smoky, very hard to breathe. It was just all also a blur. The adrenaline just kicks in you don't know what to do. I just went to the window. That was the only option so the baby could get fresh air," Iwasaki recalled.

Amid the scorching heat and thick smoke, Iwasaki, holding Leah, struggled to maintain composure. Overwhelmed by the escalating inferno, she recounted her desperate bid for survival, grappling with the overwhelming chaos and her newborn's life in great danger. The magnitude of the situation made it challenging for her to articulate her distress to the emergency operator, leading to a moment of profound helplessness.

"When I called 911, I forgot what my address was. I forgot everything I couldn't talk. I don't even think And then I gave it to someone else because I couldn't even speak of everything that was going on. That's literally what happened and it was just all a blur," said Iwasaki.

The Boonton Fire Department arrived within minutes of the call. With swift actions, the firefighters deployed ladders to aid the family's escape from the windows. Fire Lieutenant Michael Mullaney ascended a ladder, quickly rescuing the baby from the burning house, while firefighter Carl Wendt valiantly assisted others through a separate window. Their courage and quick response played a pivotal role in ensuring the safe evacuation of all trapped individuals, concluding the rescue operation within merely minutes of their arrival.

"When I got to the top of the ladder, I need to be aware that they were coming out in force. And it's a dangerous situation. You're at the top of the ladder. You have several people at the window. They all want to get out on the ladder. And you got to just calm them down and one at a time and make sure they're not panicking. Because if they panic, make the wrong step, we could both go down," Carl Wednt said.

After rescuing the victims, they quickly put out the fire.

"That fire is growing. It's already out of control, and it's growing every minute. But consider the fact that we were all at home, responded to the station, got the apparatus on the road, responded to the fire through the ladders and rescued the people in under five minutes. That's an amazing timeframe for a volunteer fire department. But every one of those minutes is important. It couldn't last 10 minutes, those people would have had to jump. If it wasn't in a shorter timeframe as it was, there could have been a different outcome," said Jim Wendt, the former fire chief.

A few months after the rescue, Iwasaki and her baby Leah reunited with the firefighters and thanked the men who had saved their lives.

"When I see the firefighters, I just feel very appreciative of everything that they did. I cried a lot about what happened. If they didn't arrive there on time, we were not going to be here. And I can't thank them enough for everything that they did," She said.

Watch the show 9-1-1 on ABC and streaming on Hulu.