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VIDEO: Marines rush burning building to save 190 senior citizens

Marines watch as firefighters extinguish the flames at Arthur Capper Senior Apartments. (DC Fire And EMS/Facebook)
September 25, 2018

A fire recently broke out at a Washington D.C. retirement home, prompting Marines at a nearby outpost to jump into action.

Video footage shows the Marines running toward the fire at Arthur Capper Senior Apartments, which was located approximately 200 yards from their outpost, CBS News reported last week.

The official Marines Instagram account shared a video of the Marines running toward the fire, accompanied by the caption, “This is what we stand for. Ooh-Rah to the Marines from Marine Barracks Washington 8th & I that helped save lives and give honor to our name.”

“These are our neighbors. They needed help. We had to act,” said Capt. Trey Gregory.

“I don’t think there was really any thought to it. We were just saying we had to get these people out of here before anything serious happens and just the instincts kicked in to go,” said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Cale.

When the Marines arrived outside the burning builder, a construction worker told them people were still trapped inside. “He yelled to us, ‘There’s more people in there,’ and that’s when the Marines decided we need to go get them,” said Cpl. Magdaleno Arroyo.

Firefighters were on scene, but with 190 residents inside the multi-floor nursing home, extra help was direly needed to save vulnerable lives.

“It was a pretty bad fire, especially on the top floor. Some paralyzed immobile people in there,” said Gregory. “We actually just picked people up as best we possibly could and then had the wheelchairs at the exit and then put them right into the wheelchair.”

Some 100 Marines helped in the rescue effort, most of whom entered the burning building to rescue residents. Others transported medical supplies and equipment from the Marine outpost to assist in care for the residents. They did so without any firefighting equipment.

“They knocked on apartment doors, assisted residents in leaving, and even carried out some of the non-ambulatory seniors. Most of the evacuated were taken to the Marine Barracks annex where they were checked over, treated for minor injuries, and sheltered until family members or friends arrived,” said an editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“Rescue efforts involved not only firefighters, but neighbors, building staff, police officers, and about a hundred US Marines who raced to the scene from their nearby barracks. Without their help, there would probably have been injuries or fatalities,” said a statement on the DC Fire and EMS Facebook page.

Only six of the residents were sent to the hospital for treatment. All 190 residents survived the ordeal, largely thanks to the quick efforts of the Marines.

The outpost, Marine Barracks, Washington D.C., also referred to as “8th and I,” is the oldest still-operating Marine post, and was established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1801. It is a recognized historic landmark and is home to many historic Marine units.