NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - A woman and her grandson were rescued by three public works employees after a fire trapped them in a second floor bedroom.
Firefighters said they were called to the home on Shelton Avenue in New Haven on Tuesday morning.
They said the rescued woman, Juanita Bryant, had to push out an air conditioning unit out of a window so she could escape.
That's when the Department of Public Works employees, who were traveling in a garbage truck in the area, helped her off the roof. They also helped rescue the woman's 11-year-old grandson.
"I have my life, my grandchildren, my reason for being are still alive," Bryant told Channel 3.
The fire erupted in the home while Bryant and her family were sleeping.
"I smelled smoke and woke up," she said. "The whole house was smokey and I went to try and get up. And it just didn’t seem right. I’m like 'there's a fire!'"
Bryant said she woke everyone up, including three children. Her 14-year-old granddaughter, Ly'nyah, jumped out of a back window.
Bryant and her 11-year-old grandson, however, were trapped in the second floor bedroom.
"I pushed the air conditioner out I got them on the porch, the little overhang," she said.
She said she was grateful for the three Good Samaritans who arrived.
"They were heroes above and beyond," Bryant said.
"I don’t necessarily call it a hero, I call it doing what’s right and acted on instinct and we just wanted to help," said Joel Rodriguez, one of the New Haven Public Works employees who responded. "It’s what we do. It’s public service. We are here to help."
Rodriguez ran into the home to make sure no one else was inside. The other two employees caught Bryant and her grandson as they jumped down.
"They were not trained in firefighting or rescue and out of the graciousness of their hearts they stopped what they were doing to come and help," Bryant said.
Three people, including two of the DPW employees, were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation; however, Channel 3 was told that their injuries were not life-threatening.
Everyone else was able to get to safety.
Firefighters were also able to rescue a cat.
Bryant said the home was heavily damaged.
"We are all out and well, not scorched, not burnt, not anything," she said.
A cause for the fire has yet to be determined. However, Bryant said it appears the fire started after someone left the stove on.
Investigators are looking into it.