RICHMOND, Va. -- Two Richmond Department of Public Works employees are being credited with helping rescue a woman from a burning Southside home Monday.
Traffic engineers Malik Mujahid and D'Jermaine Layne were just about to wrap up installing stop signs around the city, when something on Irby Road stopped them in their tracks.
“We were passing by and saw the house filled with smoke,” Layne said. “Malik said he didn't want to go by it, so we went over and there was a woman coming out saying she needed help. We both got out and ran to the back.”
Despite racing adrenaline and fear, the two did their keep a bedridden woman who uses an oxygen tank calm as the flames inched closer to her bedroom.
Her frantic son stood on the window sill not wanting to leave his mother.
At the window, Mujahid grabbed the woman's arm determined to not let go as other relatives watched from outside.
“[I] talked to her. Held her hand the whole time the fire was going on,” Mujahid said. “It was real hot, so her arm kept slipping because she was sweating. I never saw her face because there was so much smoke.”
Fire crews raced to the scene in minutes, but it felt like an eternity to both men.
“I kept saying, ‘Mama, hold on,” Mujahid recalled.
As firefighters pushing their way through the bedroom, the frantic rescue began, and the two men stood watch until they could see the woman's face.
After firefighters pulled her to safety, the two men headed back to work to finish the job they were working on.
The woman remained hospitalized at last check Thursday afternoon.
Fire officials said the cause of the fire was accidental.