Newark Mayor Cory Booker Hospitalized After Rescuing Neighbor From House Fire

By
Cory Booker. Always on duty.
Cory Booker. Always on duty. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/2012 Getty Images

Move over, Ryan Gosling: Cory Booker fearlessly saved a woman from a burning house on Thursday night. The Newark mayor was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation and second-degree burns on his hand Thursday night after he noticed a fire in his neighbor's around 9:30 p.m., and decided he needed to do something.

"Thanks 2 all who are concerned," Booker wrote on his Twitter account. "Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."

The Star-Ledger reports that a member of Booker's security detail posted at his house noticed the fire around the time that Booker was returning home from a television appearance and  — against the wishes of his security team — the mayor went into the building to get residents out, and dashed upstairs to find a woman who lived there.

“I’m back here, I’m back here,” she yelled from a back bedroom, [Newark Fire Director Fateen Ziyad] was told by the mayor. After his security detail held him back, he told Ziyad, the mayor then yelled out to his guards to release him.

“She is going to die, she’s going to die,” he said, and crossed the smoke and flames before grabbing the woman.

"I suddenly had the realization that I can’t find this woman." Booker told the paper. "I look behind me and see the flames and I think 'I’m not going to get out of here.' Suddenly I was at peace with the fact that I was going to jump out the window." He didn't have to; instead, he found the woman, grabbed her from bed, and made his way downstairs. Both then collapsed, according to Booker.

The woman, who suffered burns to her neck and back, is listed in stable medical condition at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. Newark's police chief described Booker's feat as a "professional rescue" that had probably saved the woman's life.

At a press conference this morning, Booker tried to downplay his burgeoning reputation as superhero. "I think that's way over the top," he said, noting that firefighters do this kind of thing every day. "I'm a neighbor who did what most neighbors would do."

Nevertheless, Booker came out of the experience with a new perspective on things. "Today is a surreal day for me," he said. "I feel like everything has taken on just a sense of depth to it." He added that, before the fire, he thought he had "big problems," but "now everything seems small in my life.”

The presser finished, and Booker went off to take a nap.

This post has been updated with new information.