Off-duty Coast Guardsman Rescue Two from Burning Building

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Off-duty members of Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie and Station Sault Ste. Marie rescued a mother and daughter after seeing smoke billowing and people rushing out of a burning building on Ashmun Street Tuesday at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Petty Officers Damren and Peters pulled a mother and her daughter from a smoke-filled stairwell leading to the second story of a building, which housed the Gin Mill Bar.

Conscious but disoriented, both women were covered in soot.

Damren and Peters were initially driving north on Ashmun to deliver a washing machine for another Coast Guard member, when they saw the smoke and the rear of the building on fire. Damren then dialed 911.

As first responders to the scene, they encountered four people exiting the building, who said there were two people still inside.

Both petty officers entered the doorway and felt their way around the pitchblack stairwell until they reached the mother, who was lying on the stairs. Meanwhile, the daughter was there with her, just a few steps above.

They worked their way back to remove the women to a nearby parking lot.

Emergency Medical Services and the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Department arrived on scene moments later.

Both women were transported to War Memorial Hospital. The mother is in intensive care, but is expected to make a full recovery.

The daughter was treated and released.

Damren and Peters experienced only smoke inhalation.

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