More than 100 firefighters responded to the four-alarm fire at the Cambridge Park Condominiums in the Lake Highlands neighborhood of Dallas on November 27, 2018. The fire fight was intense, it was arduous and of course dangerous. Then, three of those firefighters got trapped inside the inferno.
"Battalion to the engine 48, come out of that building!" the Chief on duty can be heard saying in the radio traffic.
"If I could find a way out Chief, I would. I'm stuck," said 31-year veteran Lt. Patricia 'Patty' A. Krafft.
Lt. Krafft was indeed trapped on the second floor of the three floor complex, but she wasn't alone. She had two rookies with her.
"I knew where we were in the apartment, so my deal was just to try to get everybody together to get out of the apartment but at the point I felt like I was being physically pushed to the ground by the heat. It was that hot," said Lt. Krafft.
The building had been cleared of residents, but at that point, it was the rescuers that needed to be rescued. Through it all, Lt. Krafft can be heard on the radio traffic very calm, giving clear instruction as to where they were.
"Panic doesn’t help," said Lt. Krafft. "And I am also responsible for two people, so if I'm panicked it's certainly not going to do any of us any good."
It took a little more than five minutes for the Rapid Intervention Team to find Lt. Krafft and her team. She credits the successful rescue to her colleagues doing their jobs perfectly, especially the R.I.T.
"The RIT team are specialized firefighters. They train for this. They are like the NFL and we are like the ones in college," she joked. "For the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like being compelled to say thank you. I felt strongly that I needed to go say thank you to those guys."