MIAMI (CBS4) – A Miami woman is being hailed by fire fighters as a hero after taking some unusual steps to alert other residents that their building was on fire and that their lives were in jeopardy.
“I was sweeping the floor and when I finished I smelled a fire and then I went up the 2nd floor and called out for the lady there and then I yelled out for Poppy, poppy, to come down,” said Marie Leggler. “I yelled Poppy, poppy, come down, there is a fire in the house. I said come on, come on, there is a fire in the house. And I yelled for Yvette to come down from the 2nd floor.”
Her efforts alerted three other adults that a blaze was racing through their two-story apartment building at the corner of Northeast 5th Avenue and 67th street.
Yvette Bailey was on the second floor when she heard the yells come from Leggler.
“Then I saw some smoke and I ran downstairs,” she tolc CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “And so I just ran out. It was scary. It was very scary. Somebody could have died up there.”
The older man identified by Leggler as “Poppy” said through a translator that he too was grateful for what Leggler did.
“That lady risked everything to find other people and she received some burns to her clothing,” said Miami Fire Department spokesman, Lt. Ignatius Carroll, Jr. “She is lucky to be alive.”
“I feel good about what she did and I thank her,” said Bailey. “And I thank God. That’s what she did. She saved lives.”
D’Oench asked Leggler how she felt about what Bailey had said about her.
Leggler responded, “Yes, thank you. I call God every day. I go to church every day. Every day I do that. And now I am ok. I am glad they are ok.”
While no building occupants were injured, Carroll said one unidentified firefighter was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital with first-degree facial burns.
“Firefighters risk their lives going into places knowing that this could happen,” said Carroll. “It’s what we are trained to do.”
Leggler believes the fire started in the downstairs living room but Carroll said the cause was not known. He said a space heater had been ruled out as the cause.
He said it took 75 firefighters in seven units about a half hour to bring the blaze under control after it started at 12:57 p.m.
Leggler and the three other occupants will receive temporary housing from the American Red Cross and then will have to find a new place to live.
CBS4 also spoke with Gerald Austin, who said he had owned the building for the past 10 years.
“I don’t know how this happened,” he said. “There is nothing I can say right now. Yes I would like to know how this happened.”