Zina Hodge, the 48-year-old woman who was rescued from her burning apartment building by Newark mayor Cory Booker, praised him for saving her life on Monday, Politico reported.
"I'm blessed," Hodge told local television station MY9TV in a phone interview. "If Cory didn't rescue me, I would've died in there. I'm telling you, if he wouldn't have came when he came, I would've died in my apartment."
Mayor Booker was returning home from a media event Thursday night when he heard Hodge's mother's screaming that her daughter was still trapped in their third-floor apartment, the Huffington Post reported.
Against his security team's advice, Booker rushed into the burning house, where he heard Hodge calling "I'm here, I'm here. Help! I'm here."
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“My first instinct when I jumped through the kitchen, which was all in flames, I actually wasn’t thinking,” he told the Newark Star-Ledger. “You know, it’s your ‘Come to Jesus’ moment. Yesterday, all my problems were really big to me. Today things feel a lot more clear, and I have a lot more respect for firefighters.”
Booker lifted Hodge from her bed and carried her on his shoulders to safety with the help of Detective Alex Rodriguez, according to the Post.
"That was the moment I had a conversation with God," Booker said at a press conference Friday, the Post reported. "I really didn't think we were going to get out of there."
Hodge is currently recovering from second degree burns and smoke inhalation at St. Barnabas Hospital, and told MY9TV that the mayor had visited her in the hospital several times since the incident.
"Yeah, he's part of the family, damn right," Hodge said to MY9TV.