Victim in apartment fire meets firefighter who saved her life

GREENFIELD (WITI) -- A woman whose home was destroyed by fire meets the firefighter who led her to safety. Linda Hoffman lost all of her belongings, yet she's grateful to be alive -- and says she owes it to the Greenfield Fire Department.

Fire spread through the Willowick apartment building on W. Southridge Drive this weekend, after breaking out on Saturday afternoon, March 1st.

15 families were displaced by the fire — and most don’t have insurance.

Linda Hoffman says she's just happy to have her life. She says she didn't hear the fire alarms sounding on Saturday afternoon because she is hard of hearing.

Hoffman says firefighters were going door-to-door to evacuate folks, and one grabbed her arm and led her to safety.

FOX6 News first met Linda and her husband at the Red Cross Disaster Center, where they told us they wished they could thank the firefighter who saved Linda's life.

"I want her to know my name is Bill Hoffman and I appreciate it," Linda's husband, Bill told FOX6 News.

Hours later, Bill and Linda Hoffman were welcomed into the Greenfield Fire Department, to meet "Shannon" face-to-face.

"If it wasn't for you, I know that she wouldn't be here. I am very thankful," Linda's daughter, Nina Hoffman told Greenfield firefighter Shannon Rohde.

Rohde says she went door-to-door as conditions were deteriorating quickly.

"We were crawling through the apartments, and it was the second apartment, the second floor that we searched that we found the occupant. When I opened that door and she was standing there, I really wasn't expecting her to be standing there. Kinda took me off-guard. Frightened me a little at that time, " Rohde said.

Rohde says smoke was at their waists as Rohde led Linda out.

"She grabbed my arm and says 'we have to vacate,'" Linda Hoffman remembers.

Shortly afterwards, the roof collapsed.

We're told if Hoffman would have stayed in that apartment much longer, she could have suffered smoke damage, or worse.

She says it's because of Rohde that she gets to see her grandchildren grow up -- and says that is a priceless gift.

Related stories: