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Woman rescued from second floor fire

DULUTH, Minn. - Duluth firefighters used a neighbor's rickety ladder and then later one of their own to rescue a woman from the second floor window of a burning home Saturday night.

The fire was reported about 9:30 p.m. Saturday with initial calls saying a woman was trapped on the second floor.

Police officers and firefighters first used a neighbor's old wooden ladder to try to reach the woman, who was hanging out the front upstairs window of the two-story house.

"When they got there, there was fire coming out of the first floor and thick smoke from the second floor, and she looked about ready to jump," Jim Ray, assistant chief, said. "They got up the first ladder and managed to get her out of the window so the super-heated smoke wasn't burning her back anymore. ... Then as we got more personnel on the scene, they used one of our ladders to bring her down."

The woman was taken by ambulance to a Duluth hospital. She was treated for smoke inhalation and possible burns to her back, Ray said. Ray said her condition and location weren't known Sunday evening.

"It was a lot like a TV rescue. But she remained pretty calm the whole time. She didn't panic. But it's a good thing they got there when they did or I think she would have jumped," Ray said, noting the woman had only one leg. "Despite all of the high-end equipment we have, a good old ground ladder is probably responsible for more rescues than anything else."

A dog and a cat both died in the fire, but a second cat was rescued by firefighters and was still alive Sunday.