An off-duty firefighter ditched his dinner to save two children and their family from a burning three-story home.
Michael Mernick, the Deputy Chief of the Warwick Fire Department in Providence, Rhode Island, ran into burning building without any of his gear.
Mernick was driving home with his wife from picking up dinner at a nearby hotdog joint, when he pulled over mid-bite to assist the police officers who arrived on scene first.
“I pulled over to the side and out of the way and I’m parked and I said to my wife. I’ll be right back,” and off he dashed.
Off-duty fire fighter springs into action
“Everybody was screaming and there’s a big commotion,” he told local news outlet WJAR. “And everybody was saying that there’s kids on the third floor, there’s kids on the third floor.”
So Mernick tried to enter, but police officers stopped him, until he told them what he did for a living.
“The officer said, You got to get out of here. And I said I’m firefighter and they said okay,” he remarked.
Mernick told WLBT that the two police officers flanked him as he entered the building and went up two flights of smokey stairs.
Off-duty firefighter saves family
On that floor he found a mother and her two children. “I went by her, and there was a child on the bed sleeping, and grab that child up and handed him to the officer,” he recalled.
“Then I looked back, and I realized there was another child there on the, on the mat on the floor,” the firefighter detailed. “So I scooped that child up and, and handed that off to the officer.”
He credits his training for the ability to think on his feet and save lives. “I have less time. I have to go faster. I have to be quicker,” Mernick commented. “It’s a very difficult job, but it’s the greatest job in the world.”
The three-tiered white house was home to eight people, all of whom managed to escape the dangerous blaze with their lives thanks to Mernick.
“Everybody’s accounted for, and that’s when I knew I could have more hot dogs,” he quipped.
The Deputy Chief has clearly saved so many lives during a 28-year long career as a firefighter in Warwick, that he was quick to brush off being labeled as a hero.
“I think heroes are people that do extraordinary things that they’re not necessarily trained to do. This just happened to be good timing, and everybody’s safe, and I’m grateful for that,” Mernic demurred.