Newark Mayor Feared He'd Die in Fire Rescue

Cory Booker felt 'terror'; woman in serious condition
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2012 1:43 PM CDT
Newark Mayor Feared He'd Die in Fire Rescue
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, second right, has a bandaged right hand in front of a home in Newark, NJ, Friday, April 13, 2012, as he describes the scene Thursday.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

When Corey Booker rushed in to rescue his neighbor from a burning building, he wasn't sure he'd make it back alive. "I did not feel bravery, I felt terror," the Newark mayor said during a press conference today. "I really didn't think we were going to get out of there." But Booker "showed his true grit," said the fire director. After Booker's security detail alerted his neighbors to the fire and evacuated them, they said their daughter remained inside, the Star-Ledger reports.

Booker headed upstairs, where security officers tried to prevent him from going further. "I was trying to hold his belt, but he gave me an order," said one. Surrounded by flames in the kitchen, Booker believed he might die, he told the press. "I was looking down, finding somewhere to breathe (and) I heard her," he said. As he carried her over his shoulder, "every time I breathed in, I just a felt a blackness," he said. "We were just fighting for our lives." Firefighters found him bent over outside the building. Zina Hodge, 47, is now in "serious condition," a hospital rep says; her mother is optimistic. (Read more Newark stories.)

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