Dramatic rescue in Dearborn house fire caught on camera

- Video newly released shows Dearborn police and a good Samaritan frantically pulling a woman from her burning home.

"The smoke was so bad, the black smoke smelled so nasty that, us standing here, we almost passed out," said Gino Al Haj who helped in the rescue. "That's how bad."

It happened last Tuesday as Gino Al Haj was at his house down the street on Denwood - about to leave home when he was delayed by a phone call. That was when he smelled smoke.

"I opened the front door and I saw the smoke coming out of the house," he said. "I put my clothes on and ran to the house, I knew she's by herself, you know? So we kick in the side door.

"I couldn't make it, the flames were so strong, the smoke was so strong."

But he saw his neighbor unconscious on the floor. Dearborn police had arrived and together they broke another window and reached inside.

"So finally I reach all the way in, I grab her by the foot and we drag her," he said. "We carried her to the ambulance."

Other neighbors watched the dramatic scene unfold, not knowing if she was dead or alive.

"They put her down on the sidewalk and all of the other rescues and fire trucks came in," he said.

Al Haj says his neighbor, who is in her 60s and is in poor health, was suffering from smoke inhalation and passed out, but she wasn't burned. She was airlifted to University of Michigan hospital and is still hospitalized. 

He says that he and the police officers pulled her out with just seconds to spare.

"By the time we carried her out to the grass, the ambulance came," he said. "As soon as it came the house went whoosh - all the flames came out of the window.

"It was just in the nick of time."

He says he couldn't have done it without Dearborn police and they are thanking him as well.

"Our citizens and officers worked hand in hand," said Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad.  "We all have great response time including our fire department but that was before fire made the scene so they took matters into their own hands."

"(With the) flames and the heat - you need teamwork," said Al Haj.

Al Haj says he's since been in touch with the victim's family and it looks like she's going to be okay.

"We did it - I couldn't have done it without Dearborn police," he said. "We got her out that's the main thing. To save a life - that's a big deal to me."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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