Panicked mom describes rescue, mourns fireman who died saving residents at Kings Tower apartments

CINCINNATI – Screaming for help, trapped by fire on the fifth floor of the Kings Tower apartments, Ashley Whitney didn't know if she and her baby would live or die.

"I'm just screaming bloody murder -- crying, crying, crying," the young mother told 9 On Your Side Sunday.

"My son was crying, coughing. I don't know what to do. I'm going crazy."

Then the firefighters came through her door.

Daryl Gordon

Whitney says she doesn't know if Daryl Gordon was in the group who saved her and Cashmere, her 3-month-old son. But she's grateful to Gordon, the 30-year veteran who died while going door to door on her floor,  looking for trapped residents, for putting his life in danger for them.

With thick, black smoke filling the hallway, Gordon fell down the elevator shaft in the Madisonville building, apparently when he opened the pull-out elevator door. The theory is that he thought he was entering an apartment.

Whitney said the smoke was so bad she could barely see the firefighters when they got to her apartment.

"When they opened the door, I couldn't see anything. I couldn't even see the firemen's name, face anything. I couldn't see nothing but the yellow outfit on," she said.

"They grabbed my son, first thing they did. One of the firemen took him down. The fireman grabbed me -- took me down the steps."

Whitney said they were among the last to leave the building.

Now Whitney is mourning Gordon and feels anguish for his family.
"i just want to say my prayers for him and his family -- give my condolences out -- because if it wasn't for him, I don't think half of us would've been able to get out," Whitney said.

"I'm so glad that he was able to save our lives."

SEE more photos of Daryl Gordon

Thousands of firefighters from all over the country are making plans to come to Cincinnati this week to pay their respects to Gordon.

Gordon's visitation is scheduled for Tuesday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at Duke Energy Convention Center. His funeral is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, followed by a service at Oak Hill Cemetery. A celebration of life ceremony will begin at Duke Energy Convention Center immediately after the cemetery service.

Gordon, 54, leaves his wife Angela and their two daughters, Angelique and Chelsea.

RELATED STORY: Kings Tower residents get garbage bags, ultimatum from owners

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PHOTOS: Mourning Daryl Gordon


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