Fire professionals say he was fortunate.
“The outcome was positive but it was a very dangerous decision to make and likely not to be successful if you are untrained and unequipped,” says Mr. Struble.
Retired New Haven fire chief Martin O’Connor says he has experienced people trying the same thing as the mayor but not successfully.
“It was my last fire before I retired,” recalls Mr. O’Connor, who also teaches at New Haven University with Chief Struble. “A mom went back into her house to try to save her kid and they both died.”
O’Connor says he’s seen people lose their lives by going back into burning houses to try to rescue their pets or retrieve valuables. “The catchphrase in fires is ‘Risk a lot to save a lot,’ ” he says.
In Booker’s case, O’Connor says the risk was to save a life which might have made it worth doing. “You can’t help but admire what the mayor did, it’s very heroic,” says O’Connor, who says he would have probably done the same thing. “I would have made my best effort to get in there,” he says.
Booker’s actions seem to have resonated with hundreds of people. On Friday, on Twitter one tweet said, “When Chuck Norris has nightmares, Cory Booker turns on the light & sits with him until he falls back asleep.” Another tweeter identified as Dr. Jill Biden wrote, “Cory Booker doesn't run into fires, fire runs away from Cory Booker.”