AMHERST - Two local paramedics made a quick decision Friday night that may have ended up saving a life.
Responding to a shortness of breath call just before 8 p.m., Emergency Health Services (EHS) paramedics found themselves facing a wall of thick smoke.
"When we opened the door to the house, the place was just full of smoke," said Tom Bird, one of the paramedics that responded to the call on Donald Avenue.
"We weren't going to go in, but then we heard the woman hollering."
With a couple of feet between the floor and the smoke, the two paramedics crawled on their hands and knees into the house.
"It was one of those things that you just had to make up your mind of what you can live with," he said.
Bird said he and his colleague weren't able to find the woman at first, and had made the decision to get themselves out of the house. That's when they heard her hollering again.
"We found her in the living room and were able to help her out."
In the 17 or 18 years he's been working with EHS, Bird said this is the first time he's had to go into a situation such as that Friday night.
Paul Maynard, EHS spokesperson, said it's not something that's usually recommended.
"We don't have the necessary protective equipment," Maynard said. "But they made a conscious decision and thought they could get in and get out, and it worked out well."
Following the rescue, the paramedics and the tenant of the house were all transported to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation, something Bird said took about four hours for himself.
Because of the smoke, the Amherst Fire Department was dispatched to the scene and responded with 30 members.
Chief Bill Crossman said the smoke started in the kitchen, as a result of overcooking on the stove.
He said the estimated damage inside the house was about $10,000.