Missouri firefighter saves mentor during deadly apartment blaze

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Grandview, MO – A Grandview firefighter who was trying to save a man from a deadly apartment fire Monday was injured when the building collapsed around him. If it hadn’t been for the quick actions of a fellow firefighter, the department may have suffered its first firefighter death.

“He’s family. I don’t know how we would handle it if we lost him, you know?” Sean D’Agostino said.

It’s a difficult thing for the firefighter to talk about. An apartment fire Monday morning almost took the life of Captain Alan Dugan, who has been with the Grandview Fire Department for 27 years.

“I have looked up to Al since I started in this fire department,” D’Agostino said.

As his brothers were inside fighting the fire, D’Agostino put the ladder up to this window in case of an emergency so the guys would have a quick way out. Shortly after, a mayday call went out, and Cpt. Dugan was trapped.

“Scared me; and I knew that was where we were fighting fire and I had a good idea he was in that room somewhere,” D’Agostino said.

He raced up the ladder and broke out the window.

“When I got up there I could hear his alarm going off and knew he was right by that window. As I started clearing out the window, I could see the blinking of his air pack, and that’s when I dropped down below the smoke and was just reaching and yelling for him to come to me,” D’Agostino said.

Disoriented and in trouble, the ceiling had collapsed, trapping Cpt. Dugan, and electrical wires tangled in his airpack.

“I talked to Cpt. Dugan, he felt alone in there. He didn’t know where that window was and he was to the point where he felt that he was not going to get out and when he heard Sean’s voice, his words to me were, ‘it was like an angel,'” Grandview Fire Chief Ron Graham said.

An angel saving his mentor, some calling him a hero. It’s a title which doesn’t sit well with D’Agostino.

“I am just glad I was there to help him. That’s about it,” he said.

“I can tell you who thinks he’s a hero. Cpt. Dugan,” Chief Graham said.

Police have not released the name of the man who died in the fire. Cpt. Dugan was burned pretty badly in the fire and is on medical leave while he recovers from his injuries.

By Shannon O’Brien