Acushnet, Mass. Woman Safe Thanks to 2 Firefighting Cousins

(NECN: Greg Wayland) - An Acushnet, Mass. woman is safe this afternoon, thanks to the heroic efforts of two firefighters.

There are a few twists to this particular rescue. Three to be exact.

The address of the fire rang a distant bell in the minds of firefights. There heroes in this rescue are cousins, and they aren’t full-time firefighters, but they performed like professionals.

A neighbor made the 911 call just after 11 p.m. Sunday.

“I was at home, got the call over our alert system,” said Frysinger.

“I arrived on scene approximately a minute-and-a-half after the call came in,” said Hebert.

Paul Frysinger, 32, and Adam Hebert, 19, are cousins. They were among 32 on-call firefighters in the town of Acushnet, Mass.

They both quickly donned masks and gear and rushed into the burning house at 46 Coulombe Street.

“I got up to the second floor, made it about half way and saw heavy fire conditions and smoke,” said Frysinger.

“As we were knocking it down, we heard a cry for help,” said Hebert.

“We initially dropped the line and I told her keep on yelling, where are you?”

They found 52-year-old Karen Szymczyk, where she'd taken refuge in a second floor bathroom behind a charred and burning door and next to a window she'd opened for air.

“She was scared, very nervous.”

“She was alert. She was talking to us. We knew we had to get her out.”

They did get her out. She's hospitalized, suffering from smoke inhalation and moderate to severe burns on her legs. It was a narrow escape.

Frysinger works as an EMS when he's not fighting fires. His cousin Hebert is a college student and pumps gas downtown.

“I'm exceptionally proud of them. And all the members of our team, full time and call alike.”

Besides the dramatic rescue there was one other strange twist to this fire that astounded the chief when he realized it.

“Twenty-one years ago was the last time that we were called upon to rescue someone from a burning building and it's at the same location, the same address.”

The victim then was an 80-year-old aunt of Szymczyk, rescued by firefighter Alfred Robichaud. The cause was faulty wiring on a clothes dryer.

The current fire, according to fire officials, was started by a candle.

Two fires. Two rescues. And this time, it’s thanks to two firefighter cousins.

Szymczyk is in serious condition at Rhode Island Hospital, but she is expected to recover.

This fire was caused by a candle, a reminder of how dangerous they can be when left unattended.

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