As Oglesby ran back to grab a hose, Warfield and Klavon, from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, raced past him and charged up the stairs. As fast as they moved, the fire was faster, overtaking them, Warfield said.
Through their fire-resistant equipment, they could feel the heat. Burn blisters sprouted on Warfield’s ear and first-degree burns on his face.
Feeling by hand, he and Klavon found the cribs covered by nylon mesh that investigators believe kept the children from climbing out. Precious seconds ticked by as they struggled with the mesh, finally cutting them free with a utility knife. Hearing Oglesby and other firefighters approach, Warfield and Klavon grabbed a toddler each.
“Get the third one!” they yelled as they rushed down the stairs and out of the house.
In the space of a minute — the time it took from the nursery to the front yard — the little boys in their arms stopped breathing, Warfield said.
“We stripped our helmets off and started mouth-to-mouth,” he said. “And as soon as ambulance crews put them on cots, Klavon and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s go get the third.’ ”
But in the middle of the yard, they collapsed from injuries and exhaustion. All they could do was stare at the door.
A few minutes later, they saw Oglesby emerge with the third boy in his arms.