Video by: Mark Lorenz
A veteran firefighter struggling to breathe bailed out of a smoke-filled apartment building yesterday by escaping down a ladder head first. Firefighter Steve Franzosa was working on the three-alarm blaze at the Essex Place apartment building at 36 Keys Drive when he stuck his head out a window asking for help. Several onlookers, fire officials from area departments, scrambled to move a nearby extension ladder to Franzosa's window. The firefighter left the scene on a stretcher and was transported to Lahey Clinic. He was treated and released, Lahey spokesman Scott Hartman said yesterday. The fire, which started shortly after 1 p.m., smoldered in the walls and ceiling of the 12-apartment structure and proved difficult for firefighters to stamp out, said fire Capt. Jay Dowling.