LEESBURG, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Lake County firefighters saved two kids from a burning apartment Tuesday morning, according to officials.
“If we were there any later - I think that it would have been a lot worse,” said firefighter Eric Steiner.
Just 20 years old and in the department for about a month, Steiner was responding to his first fire. Officials say it happened at an apartment complex on Shirleys Way in Leesburg.
“I immediately got out of the truck and a maintenance worker advised that there were possibly four to five children still in the building,” said Lt. Glenn Bidwell, who was also part of the crew responding.
The firefighters went into rescue mode. They say heavy smoke was spilling out the front door of a unit on the third floor.
“I didn't know what to expect as I'm walking in,” Steiner said.
They searched the place and say they found a 3-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl in their beds.
“The room where we found them, the smoke conditions were about halfway down from the ceiling so within probably in another minute the whole bed would have been covered in smoke so it was definitely good timing,” Bidwell explained.
The firefighters say the kids were lethargic but they got them out safely and back to their mom.
“That's why we do it, everyday. That's why we wake up and come in and do it,” Bidwell said about the rescue.
Steiner made the save of a lifetime on his very first call.
“Pretty thrilling,” he said. “It hasn’t set in yet.”
Fire officials say they believe the fire originated in the kitchen with a pot on the stove.