Alive, grateful, but hazy

Newark Mayor Cory Booker's right hand is bandaged outside the home were he saved a neighbor from a fire. The woman he rescued says that while she is a little hazy on the rescue, she's sure of this: Booker is a hero. Story, B4.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker's right hand is bandaged outside the home were he saved a neighbor from a fire. The woman he rescued says that while she is a little hazy on the rescue, she's sure of this: Booker is a hero. Story, B4. (MEL EVANS / AP)

On this, she's clear: Mayor Booker is a hero.

Posted: April 18, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. - The woman pulled from her burning home by Mayor Cory Booker says that she would be dead if he hadn't come to her rescue but that she was in such a fog at the time, she doesn't remember his lifting her out of bed or carrying her to safety.

Zina Hodge, who was released from the hospital Tuesday, told Fox TV station My9 before her discharge that she was gasping for air and delusional when Booker pulled her from her smoky second-floor bedroom late Thursday.

Hodge said she was asleep when the fire broke out, apparently in the kitchen next to her bedroom, but remembered little about the ordeal or the mayor's actions.

"I didn't even see him. I don't even remember him picking me up. But I heard him - calling me," she told the station.

But, Hodge said, she knows she owes her life to him.

"I'm blessed, man. You know what I mean," she said. "If Cory wouldn't have come in there and rescued me, I would have died in there."

Hodge, 47, was admitted in serious condition to the burn intensive-care unit at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. Her injuries included burns to the back and smoke inhalation.

The mayor suffered smoke inhalation and burned his right hand when, against the wishes of his security detail, he rushed up the stairway of his neighbor's burning house to rescue Hodge.

Once they were outside her house, which is next door to Booker's home, the mayor's main concern was getting her into an ambulance, Hodge said.

His office confirmed that the mayor had visited Hodge in the hospital but declined further comment.

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