The girls might as well have been invisible, coated in soot in a room flooded with smoke.
Three stories of flames had been beaten down by Engine 7, just enough for Capt. Nick Adsero and firefighter Brent Duckworth to skirt past a broken sliding glass door and into a burning living room at the Olin Fields Apartments.
They groped through dense black smoke. Adsero trudged in front. Duckworth crouched behind him spraying the hose line to snuff out flames that still flared at them in the hallway. Ceilings can top 1,000 degrees in a fire, too hot even for heavy fireproof gear. So they had to keep low.
“Fire department! Is anybody in here!”
No answer. They battled through the bottom floor of the N building to a master bedroom, where a chief told them the twin girls might be. It was the first place they searched.