Firefighters reflect on the devastating damage after a fire at an apartment complex in the Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood.
MINNEAPOLIS – For the firefighters at Minneapolis Station Number 7, the first day of 2014 won't be soon forgotten.
"I've never seen people injured that badly," recalls 18-year veteran Jerry White. "Our first thought was to save as many people as possible."
In all, EMS personnel, police and firefighters saved more than a dozen residents trapped in the burning apartment complex in the Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood. Still, several were injured and three people died.
"You start to think, did I do everything I possible could have?" asked White. "But I think we all did the best we could."
Arriving to the scene, several firefighters recall seeing victims lying in the street, some even jumping from second and third floor windows.
"I saw a man badly burned hanging out of a window," says firefighter Cory Martin. "I don't think we've ever moved a ladder that quickly before."
Martin, and others, helped to rescue multiple people by carrying them down ladders. Longtime firefighter Anthony Buchanan says he had to kick down doors and search for victims.
"I went in unmasked," says Buchanan. "I wanted anyone to hear me yelling and screaming for them."
Captain Joe Mattison says everyone worked as a team to save lives.
"We did our job," he says. "We have the best job in the world."