19-year-old rookie firefighter helps save a life - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

19-year-old rookie firefighter helps save a life

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Five more minutes and an 83-year-old woman may not have survived a house fire.

At 12:53 a.m. when Luke Zimmerman got the call for his first real-live fire, he had no idea it would change his life and save someone else's.

Just a couple of months on the job, one live fire training and perhaps natural instinct, that's all it took for Zimmerman.

"I really always ran toward danger, I guess, that's what my mom and dad say, so it's kind of an instinct," he said with a smile.

He was among 40 firefighters to put out the early morning fire. The rookie found the homeowner, an 83-year-old woman, when he went inside.

"She was talking to me and everything and I went and came back out and we had another crew right there to go get her," Zimmerman said.

And what was a basement consumed by flames is now charred table tops and doors.

"She had some mobility issues so we really put the pedal to the medal to get out here," said Cisco Fire Chief Ron Weishaar.

Crews said the woman was unconscious when she came out of the home.

Given the condition that I saw her in, [when] she came out of the house, I don't think she would have made it more than five minutes inside where she was," explained Bonnie Wyatt, firefighter and medical first responder.

Medical staff had her breathing on her own before being transported.

"He was right there to get inside and do what needed to be done," Weishaar said.

And it was a job well done.

Fire crews said the cause of the fire appeared to be electrical. The women did have a smoke detector in her house but it did not have batteries in it.

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