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Thursday, March 3, 2016  For the first time Monday night, we are hearing the voice of a firefighter trapped inside a Raytown apartment fire that killed a boy and his grandmother.Five-year-old Jeremiah Roberts and his grandmother, Cherri Roberts, died soon after being rescued. The boy’s 18-month-old brother, Jabin Roberts, is still in the hospital three weeks later.

A newly released audio recording reveals the fire came close to claiming another life, that of firefighter Dave Andrews.

Andrews was on the second floor dousing the flames while his colleagues were one floor up trying to reach the trapped family.

“There’s a fire, a lot of smoke coming out from the building.”

That’s the call that brought firefighters to the Somerset Village Apartments. It came in at 2:21 a.m..

The first units arrived four-and-a-half minutes later.

“We’re attempting a search right now, multiple occupants on floor two.”

“We proceeded to where we heard cries for help, a crying baby,” Capt. Andrew Finkelstein with the Raytown Fire Department said.

Finkelstein and firefighter Sarah Foster were inside for less than seven minutes, on the third floor with the family, when a voice pierced through the radio traffic with a jolt.

“Pumper 51. I need a line. I’m on fire. Right now. Mayday Mayday.”

“I’ve listened to it probably 30 times, seriously,” Fire Chief Matt Mace stated.

Mace says Andrews was stuck in what had become like the middle of a kiln. One stairwell was already blazing when the crew of three went in up the one that was passable. Andrews was using a hose to keep that under control while the other two were upstairs getting the baby boy out through a window.

“A wall of fire in front of him, a wall of fire behind him,” Mace commented.

Then the fire burned through his hose, rendering his only tool for controlling the fire useless.

“For a firefighter, the first thing you do is you stop and think what would I do if it was me. Obviously, he’s trying to get it out and no matter how fast he gets help it’s still too long,” Mace said.

There would be no perfect outcome. Two of the three people rescued from the fire did not survive.

But, backup was on hand to get a handle on the flames long enough to get everyone out, the firefighters and the residents.

“On 99 percent of the fires you don’t need those, but on this one call, if they hadn’t been there, we would have been having another firefighter funeral. Because there wasn’t eight minutes for him to wait,” Mace stated.

KCTV5 talked to Jabin’s uncle. He says Jabin undergoes surgery or a skin graft just about daily. But, he says he seems to be improving. He’s been upgraded twice by doctors since going to the hospital, and is currently listed in good condition.

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