Lowell firefighters who rescued families being called heroes - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Lowell firefighters who rescued families being called heroes

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Capt. Brett Dowling of the Lowell Fire Department Capt. Brett Dowling of the Lowell Fire Department
LOWELL, Mass. (WHDH) -

Lowell firefighters are being called heroes after they helped save countless people from a burning building.

Captain Brett Dowling and Firefighter Ryan Carroll were among the first responders to the apartment building where more than 50 people lived.

“As we turned on Queen Street a man had jumped and was lying in the middle of the street. He crawled aside and we drove past him and there was a guy hanging by his arm from the second floor window,” Dowling said.

The firefighters were emotional as they spoke with 7News about their experiences. Both man said the images will haunt them.

“It's the worst I've been to, unfortunately. You always carry it with you,” Dowling said.

Carroll was the first firefighter up the ladder to help survivors.

“I pulled a family of five out of the third floor window, three children, a mother and father. When I was about three feet from the window the first little girl jumped on me, I held her, grabbed her little brother and helped them down,” he said.

The firefighters tried to save everyone inside the building, but they were forced to evacuate when the roof collapsed. Seven people, including parents and three of their five kids, were trapped and killed.

“It's difficult because we all have kids and families. It’s just hard, it’s very hard,” Dowling said.

The firefighters say they aren’t heroes, but many in the community disagree.

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