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Richmond firefighters’ brave actions save a 11-month-old’s life

RICHMOND, Va. -- An 11-month-old girl is out of the hospital and expected to be alright after being rescued by a group of firefighters Saturday afternoon in Richmond.

"We're talking literally seconds here from tragedy to triumph,” said Capt. William M. Martin with the Richmond Fire Department.

Engine Company 11 was the first on the scene at Fairfield Court Saturday afternoon. They found heavy smoke and flames shooting from the apartment building at the 2500 block of Phaup Street, and immediately went into rescue mode after hearing that an infant was still upstairs.

Firefighters working blaze at apartment building in the 2500 block of Phaup Street.

Firefighters working blaze at apartment building in the 2500 block of Phaup Street.

"Within a minute of being on the scene, they heard the baby or saw the baby during the secondary search, scooped it and got it in the ambulance and basically saved its life,” Martin said.

Just seconds later officials said there was a flashover in the bedroom where the little girl had been -- while firefighters were still inside.

Capt. William M. Martin

Capt. William M. Martin

"The gases accumulate. Once everything in the room reaches the ignition temperature, it simultaneously combusts. That's why we call it a flash,” Battalion Chief of Battalion 4 Jeff Currie said.

Currie explained that flashovers are rare and extremely dangerous.

"About 1150 degrees is a typical flashover temperature,” he said. "It happens instantly and if you're inside in that ignition temperature, you're going to burn."

 Jeff Currie, Battalion Chief of Battalion 4

Jeff Currie, Battalion Chief of Battalion 4

Two firefighters suffered minor burns and were treated at the scene Saturday, but officials said someone without their gear could not have survived.

“That’s devastating,” Currie said.

The devastation was avoided thanks to those firefighters' training, quick thinking and bravery.

"It's a whole company, but three of them went inside and they did an incredible job. Absolutely incredible. I've been doing this for 35 years and I'm impressed,” Martin said.

"Our department is proud, and anytime we can make an impact and make a difference, then it makes us happy,” Currie said.

The fire displaced more than a dozen people. The cause remains under investigation.