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Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark rescued a woman trapped in a burning house Thursday night and carried her to safety.
Booker was treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital and released. He also suffered second-degree burns on his hand.
During a press conference Friday morning, Booker rejected suggestions that he is a hero for his role in the rescue.
"I think that's way over the top. I'm a neighbor who did what most neighbors would do, jump into action to help a friend," he said.
In fact, Booker said he thought he and his fellow rescuers might die in the effort. "I felt fear. I really didn't think we were going to get out of there," he said.
Booker says he arrived at his Newark home after taping a television interview and found a neighbor's house ablaze. Before firefighters arrived on the scene, the mayor and two members of his security detail entered the house and helped the residents get out safely.
Booker then heard a woman screaming for help on the second floor and went back inside.
"I just grabbed her and whipped her out of the bed," Booker told The Star-Ledger.
Booker posted a Twitter message shortly after the incident: "Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."
The mayor added that one of his security officers had tried to stop him from going inside. "We actually get into a fight because his job is to protect me," Booker said.
Newark Fire Chief John Centanni said Booker and his security detail performed a professional rescue and that their actions may have saved the woman's life.
Booker's heroism has even spawned an Internet meme, "Cory Booker Stories," in the vein of a similar meme created around actor Chuck Norris. In fact, one of the more popular entries from Twitter user @MilesGrant reads, "When Chuck Norris has nightmares, Cory Booker turns on the light & sits with him until he falls back asleep."
Yahoo News reporter Eric Pfeiffer contributed to this report
UPDATE: This story has been edited from its original version to reflect new developments in the story
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