NEW BEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - A New Bedford Fire lieutenant is being hailed as a hero after shielding an elderly woman in a wheelchair from the flames engulfing her home with his body.

After the multi-family home caught fire Monday morning, two people were still trapped inside on the third floor, including this woman.

She and her grandson, Justin Ramos, said they woke up to a wall of smoke in their home.

“I knew I could kind of make it out safe,” he said, “I know she was wheelchair-bound so it was kinda tough for me, knowing that she was so close but so far away.”

Ramos escaped out of the third-floor window, but his grandmother was stuck inside and forced to wait for help. With no water support inside, one firefighter used his body to protect her from the flames.

“He was able to shield her with his gear,” said District Chief Scott Gomes of the New Bedford Fire Department. “He put himself between the fire and her.”

The flames were so intense, it ripped through most of his protective gear, which is designed to withstand temperatures up to 1,100 degrees.

Gomes displayed the damaged jacket and other firefighting equipment.

“They did one of the most dangerous operations you can do as a firefighter,” Gomes said. “They did it without hesitation, didn’t even think twice.”

The six people who live in the home are now displaced and are being assisted by the Red Cross. Investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked the fire

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