Heroic firefighter risked life to save woman

Capt. Patrick Drennan, of the Jersey City Fire Department, risked his life two weeks ago to save a woman trapped inside a burning apartment building.

Drennan is part of the Rescue 1 team that was called to Jersey City and was among the first firefighters inside the burning building. When he reached an apartment just past the center of the smoke and flames, he found 50-year-old Bettina Stafford on the ground, frozen with panic.

Drennan and other firefighters say there was zero visibility and high heat inside the building. Drennan had just one oxygen mask, which he gave to Stafford before pulling her through the clouds of smoke and fire.

"I put my face piece over her and I had to drag her down the hall," Drennan says. "And then I had to put her on my back and take her down the stairs ? then down another landing."

Fire officials say Drennan breathed in toxins and smoke for more than two minutes. He emerged with Stafford safely, but completely delirious and in need of oxygen.

Drennan has fully recovered after spending time in the hospital. It took News 12 New Jersey two weeks to track him down.

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