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Teen pulled from basement in amazing Alton house fire rescue

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ALTON, Ill. – A teenager is lucky to be alive after being rescued from a house fire in Alton.

Firefighters had to break through security bars on a basement window to make a heroic rescue.

Flames engulfed the small frame home on Marsh Street as Alton firefighters arrived. Firefighters said they were told in a 911 call that someone was trapped in the basement, but that other occupants, including children, escaped the fire.

A 13-year-old girl was trapped inside the basement as flames above her were spreading through the home. Before firefighters arrived, next door neighbor Dave Roberts heard screaming and tried to rescue the girl.

"So I walked around the house to see what was going on, looked back and saw the flames coming out of the kitchen, and I heard them,” Roberts said. “She was still down in the basement and so he came over and he tried to kick out the window. We were both trying to kick out the window and then the fire department came pretty much soon right after that…and they were able to get her out.”

Alton Deputy Fire Chief Mark Harris credits Captain Dan Whiteside and Firefighter Ben Taylor for breaking through the bars of the basement window. Captain Taylor went into the home and got the girl to the window; other firefighters then pulled the child to safety. She was able to walk to paramedics, who took her to a hospital. She was treated and released and is shaken up, but okay.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but authorities said it’s believed to have started in the kitchen.