By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Easter morning 3-alarm fire that swept through the Owings Landing Apartment complex triggered a dangerous rescue by firefighters.

“There were numerous occupants coming up to us stating there was someone still in the apartment on the third floor,” Perry Point Assistant Fire Chief Aaron Neely said.

A team of four Perry Point firefighters made their way in and up, having to crawl and feel their way through intense heat and smoke after a roof collapsed.

“Visibility was zero,” said Lt. Thomas Meehan. “Couldn’t see anything. Swept across and felt ahead. Grabbed her out. Told Jeff evacuate. We backed out, took her down three flights of steps, and handed her off to other firefighters and paramedics.”

93-year-old Mary Whitney was rushed to the hospital. She was treated and released three days later. The rescue was the first of its kind for the firefighters.

“We train for the worst case scenario, and this just happened to be it,” said Neely. “So once we got there and found out there was a rescue, we knew what we had to do, and we immediate went from fire-fighting to rescue mode.”

The men gambled their own lives to save Whitney’s. When it worked “it was a great feeling,” Meehan said.

The fire caused more than $7 million in damage.

The cause is still under investigation, although arson has been ruled out.

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