DC firefighters rescue elderly woman trapped inside burning home

- An elderly woman is in serious condition after a fire broke out in Southeast D.C. Wednesday evening.

D.C. Fire and EMS said firefighters rescued 95-year-old Virginia Haskel after she was trapped inside a second-floor bedroom of a home in the 800 block of Xenia Street. She was conscious and alert when she was transported to the hospital.

Haskel's son, Benjamin, was also inside the home when the fire started, but he was not injured.

"I couldn't do anything," he said. "I was helpless."

He heard the smoke alarm and ran upstairs from the basement and found the kitchen was on fire – with the smoke rising up past the cabinets. The frying pan had caught on fire.

He called 911 while his mother was upstairs. Haskel couldn't reach her because the smoke had become too dense for him to reach the second level.

“She was still sitting on her bed, she was able to talk and yell to us, but she wasn't able to move, and we could tell she probably wasn't going to be awake much longer,” said D.C. Fire and EMS Sgt. Daniel Kloss.

Firefighters feared the woman was losing consciousness. They climbed on a ladder outside and came in through the window. A second unit was deployed through the interior stairs and they were able to rescue her from the burning house.

“Her eyes were moving so we knew she definitely had an airway,” said D.C. Fire and EMS Lt. Larry Lewis.

“I'm thankful that they got here the way they did and helped her and helped me,” said the 95-year-old's son.

Investigators have ruled the fire as accidental.

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