The woman who was saved from her burning apartment by Newark Mayor Cory Booker has given her first interview.
48-year-old Zina Hodge, still recovering from burns and smoke inhalation at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, is grateful to be alive and thankful for the mayor's heroics.
“I’m blessed, man," she told Fox5 News. "If Cory wouldn’t have came in there and rescued me, I would have died in there."
Booker was returning home from a media event Thursday when he heard Hodge's mother screaming that her daughter was trapped. Booker rushed into the burning home against the advice of his security team, chasing after Hodge's faint calls of, "I'm here, I'm here. Help! I'm here" from her third floor apartment. Booker lifted her from her bed and carried her on his shoulders through the burning kitchen.
"I didn't even see him," Hodge recalls. "I don't even remember him picking me up. But I heard him calling me."
In the stairwell, where Detective Alex Rodriguez helped him carry Hodge, the smoke thickened and the mayor thought he might not make it out alive. "That was the moment I had a conversation with God," Booker said Friday at a press conference. "I really didn't think we were going to get out of there."
Booker was treated for second degree burns and smoke inhalation and released from the hospital later that night.
Asked if she now considered Booker part of her family, Hodge responded, "Yea, he's part of my family. Damn right."