By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

This has been a week wherein it seems like our society has reached a new low, and sometimes for me one of the quickest sources of emotional first aid is to hunt down stories where the good guys are without question the good guys, and their efforts are genuinely heroic.

The story below is a “stand-up-and-cheer” reminder as to why Marines have the reputation for being the service branch that literally “runs into the fire.”

A huge fire broke out in a four-story Southeast Washington DC housing complex for seniors Wednesday afternoon. In addition to the professional fire and rescue first responders who answered the call, Marines from down the street at the Barracks Washington also rushed in to help with the rescue attempt.

As is often the case these days, the event was caught on social media, showing strong columns of smoke which billowed from the building, and there was also footage shot of the complex’s roof collapsing. It is thought by fire department officials that the fire began on the roof, and it is a miracle no one was hurt badly. One media post showed Marines rushing from their barracks to help rescue seniors. They pushed wheelchairs and stretchers toward the burning building in order to get the disabled and injured out as quickly as possible. Some of those rescued were paralyzed. It was its own war zone, and the Marines stepped up at a moment’s notice to do what they do best.

“Marines rushed into the building to rescue those who needed assistance and evacuated residents to the Marine Barracks Washington Annex where they were checked and treated for any injuries and sheltered until their loved ones arrived,” said a post on the Facebook page belonging to Barracks Washington.

“We all went in there to carry people out,” Captain Trey Gregory told the NBC affiliate in Washington DC. The Marines carried residents out of the building over their shoulders, he said.

All residents are accounted for and safe, although at least four people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Eighty residents have been relocated to shelters nearby.

“We aren’t sure how the fire started at Arthur Capper Senior Building in Navy Yard,” D.C., said spokesman Charles Allen. “Firefighters needed to rescue a few residents via window from the higher floors.”

For some reason, there have been several fires in the building since 2009, and this time neither the smoke alarms nor the sprinkler systems went off. I do not want to think about how great of a tragedy was averted, and am glad that Marines and civilians alike were able to be of true help to all. God bless, and Semper Fi!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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