US & Canada

Newark Mayor Cory Booker saves woman from fire

A New Jersey mayor has played down suggestions he is a hero after he rushed into a burning house to save a woman.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker rescued the woman from the second floor of her home in the city's Upper Clinton Hill area.

A member of his staff tried to restrain Mr Booker from going into the house as it was engulfed in flames.

He later tweeted : "We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."

A follow-up tweet added: "Thanks everyone, my injuries were relatively minor. Thanks to Det Alex Rodriguez who helped get all of the people out of the house."

'Come to Jesus'

Mr Rodriguez, a member of the mayor's security team, saved three residents from the house.

Mayor Booker had arrived back in his neighbourhood on Thursday evening from a television interview when he came across the house fire.

He said he had "a little bit of a fight" with his security detail as they tried to prevent him from entering the property.

His burned right hand still bandaged, Mayor Booker told a news conference on Friday: "I felt fear. I really didn't think we were going to get out of there."

The 42-year-old politician described on CBS News how he ran through a burning kitchen with the woman, Zina Hodge, 47, over his shoulder.

"It's a 'come to Jesus' moment," he said. "I really had this moment where I thought, okay, I'm trapped."

Ms Hodge suffered second-degree burns on her back. Mayor Booker burned his hand and was treated for smoke inhalation.

Three members of the mayor's security staff were also taken to hospital after the fire, reported the New Jersey Star-Ledger .

Mayor Booker said the experience gave him "profound respect" for firefighters.

"I'm ill-equipped now to do firefighter union negotiation," he joked.

In December, Mayor Booker won wide media attention after taking snow removal operations in the blizzard-hit New Jersey city into his own hands, chronicling his efforts on Twitter.

He personally responded to pleas for help and was dubbed a "superhero with a shovel" by some constituents.

Mayor Booker is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party.

On his trip to the US in March, UK Prime Minister David Cameron met Mayor Booker to hear about his efforts to turn around Newark after years of decline.

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