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Off-Duty FF’s Burned During Heroic Rescue

A SINGLE-CAR ACCIDENT IN MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, SUNDAY AFTERNOON had a 32-yr.-old mother and her two children ages 2 and 4 trapped inside as it started burning.  Fortunately for the family, they wrecked in a residential neighborhood where two Milwaukee firefighters live.  The men are brothers also, John and Joel Rechlitz were both off-duty yesterday and at home when it happened.  They, along with an off-duty police officer, dashed to the accident scene and rescued the three victims, but not before both brothers received 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns.

A passer-by had a video camera and calmly recorded the fantastic rescue.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel describes it:

The video shows the 1992 Chevrolet Blazer on its left side near S. 22nd Place and W. Layton Ave., its back half engulfed in flames and black smoke.

Two men eventually use metal pipes to break through the windshield, freeing the woman, who is a 32-year-old Tennessee resident, and her 2-year-old daughter.

They suffered minor injuries, police said.

The woman’s 4-year-old son was still trapped inside.

Two brothers – John and Joel Rechlitz, who are Milwaukee firefighters and were off duty – were notified of the fire by one of their wives, who lives near the scene and saw the crash, said Tiffany Wynn, a Fire Department spokeswoman.

The video shows the off-duty firefighters trying to reach the boy through the windshield while off-duty police Lt. Mark Wroblewski sprays a fire extinguisher into the vehicle.

At one point the entire upper body of one of the off-duty firefighters is inside the vehicle before he pulls the boy out of the SUV.

The boy suffered burns to at least 30% of his body and was in surgery Sunday night at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, according to police and fire officials. His condition was not available.

WTMJ-TV has the dramatic video:

Read the full story in the Journal Sentinel HERE.

Comments - Add Yours

  • firetech1

    Thanks and hats off to the firefighters and the police officer!!

  • firetech1

    Thanks and hats off to the firefighters and the police officer!!

  • Dal90

    Top shelf!

  • Dal90

    Top shelf!

  • Joel Hendelman, BC443 (Retired

    Great job guys!! That is the definition of a true hero!! I hope you recover from your injuries with no complications. Always at the ready!! God Bless!!

  • Joel Hendelman, BC443 (Retired) City of Fairfax Fire Department, FX VA

    Great job guys!! That is the definition of a true hero!! I hope you recover from your injuries with no complications. Always at the ready!! God Bless!!

  • http://brotherhoodinstructors.com/ Nate DeMarse

    Great grab guys!

    I was on the edge of my seat for these guys throughout the entire video. This certainly would have had a different ending had these guys, the civilians and the police officers not reacted as they did.

    Well done!

    Respectfully,

    Nate DeMarse

  • http://brotherhoodinstructors.com Nate DeMarse

    Great grab guys!

    I was on the edge of my seat for these guys throughout the entire video. This certainly would have had a different ending had these guys, the civilians and the police officers not reacted as they did.

    Well done!

    Respectfully,

    Nate DeMarse

  • DaGonz

    A tip of the leather to the two Brothers and our Brother from the thin blue line on making a heroic rescue and saving the lives of a mother and her children, who without a doubt would be dead if it were not for their selfless act.

    On the firehouse.com forums… someone that stated that he would not have made this rescue, as it is not his district and not his problem….

  • DaGonz

    A tip of the leather to the two Brothers and our Brother from the thin blue line on making a heroic rescue and saving the lives of a mother and her children, who without a doubt would be dead if it were not for their selfless act.

    On the firehouse.com forums… someone that stated that he would not have made this rescue, as it is not his district and not his problem….

  • Jason Low

    Bravo Zulu to all involved!

  • Jason Low

    Bravo Zulu to all involved!

  • http://www.firehousezen.com/ Mick Mayers

    Excellent stuff. It’s so much better to be reading about real firefighters like these guys instead of these mutts who are lighting fires and stealing from their brothers. These guys need to be commended.

  • http://www.firehousezen.com Mick Mayers

    Excellent stuff. It’s so much better to be reading about real firefighters like these guys instead of these mutts who are lighting fires and stealing from their brothers. These guys need to be commended.

  • B. Morgan

    Brave men. It’s good to see these true professionals step into harms way to save others.

  • B. Morgan

    Brave men. It’s good to see these true professionals step into harms way to save others.