Peru Fire Station 1

PERU — A Peru couple is currently recovering at a Fort Wayne hospital after firefighters rescued the pair Wednesday morning from their burning home.

Peru Fire Department Chief Erick Hawk said the fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday at the home located near the intersection of Main and Grant streets, and he added that the two-story structure was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived on scene.

“We had two crews,” Hawk told the Tribune. “One crew went in the front door to fight the fire, and a crew went upstairs from a ladder (outside). They laddered the front of the home and through the bedroom window.”

Inside that bedroom at the time were the home’s two occupants — a man and woman — though Hawk said their identities have not been publicly released.

“Once we were able to get into the window, we were able to then remove the two occupants out of the same window,” Hawk noted. “They were transported to Dukes (Memorial Hospital) and then transported onto Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne in serious condition.”

The current medical status of the couple is still unknown at this time, Hawk added.

And though the structure is likely a total loss, Hawk and other fire officials pointed out that materials can be replaced, but lives can’t.

“From the time they (PFD’s C-crew) got the call to the time the patients were out of the home and being transported to the hospital was about 11 minutes,” Hawk said. “They (firefighters) did an exceptionally good job of removing the victims from the home.

“I consider every guy that works here a hero,” Hawk added. “They take the job seriously, and not one is any better than the other. They all chip in and get the job done, and that’s what we’re here for. It’s their job to save lives, and so that makes every guy that becomes a firefighter a hero.”

Nathan Hunt, a training officer and member of the C-crew at PFD, agreed with Hawk, saying that those who saved the couple on Wednesday were simply doing their jobs.

“It wasn’t ‘me,’ it was ‘we,’” Hunt said, referring to the seven firefighters who helped rescue the couple. “That’s why we practice and train the way we do — so that when we have to know what we’re doing, we don’t have to think. You just automatically know what to do.”

And while it’s ideal to never have anyone trapped inside a fire situation, Hunt said he’s comfortable knowing PFD’s firefighters worked together quickly to rescue the couple.

“Everybody in the crew, it was seamless,” Hunt said. “… I’m pretty proud of the guys that were working because everybody busted their butt to get what we needed done. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to know that you helped somebody else, but when you do it in a grand fashion like that with all the guys you worked so hard with, I don’t know if you can really put that amount of pride into words.”

Wednesday’s fire is still under investigation.

Kim Dunlap can be reached at 765-860-3256 or at kim.dunlap@kokomotribune.com.

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