Red Cross helping victims displaced by fire in Racine

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Racine fire rescue

Racine fire rescue

RACINE — Red Cross officials are assisting a mother and her four-month-old son after they were displaced from their home following a fire in Racine Tuesday, July 24th. Flames trapped a man on the second-story balcony of the building, and neighbors stepped in to help rescue him.

Red Cross officials met with the woman Tuesday night and assisted her in contacting the insurance company, and also provided her with clothes, diapers and personal hygiene items.

Red Cross officials will also meet with the occupants of the building’s upper unit.

Bruce Hansen snapped photos as his neighbors raised a ladder to the balcony where the man was trapped Tuesday afternoon.

“They wanted him to jump, but he couldn’t move. He was just hugging the corner, trying to keep away from the flames until somebody could rescue him. People were hosing him off, trying to keep him cool,” Hansen said.

29-year-old Eddie Martinez was at the top of the ladder — the trapped man’s next door neighbor.

Victoria Saldana is Martinez’ cousin, and said Eddie wanted the man to climb down the ladder, but the man couldn’t because of a physical disability from a recent stroke.

When the ladder didn’t work, a front end loader from the Department of Public Works was raised to his balcony.

“They lifted it up for him to try to climb in there, and he wasn’t able to either,” Saldana said.

Racine firefighters eventually carried the man down. The man was taken to the hospital with burns, but Racine Fire officials say his injuries could have been worse, had it not been for the quick actions of neighbors and responders.

Fire officials have ruled the official cause of the fire to be careless smoking.