On Thursday night, Newark Mayor Cory Booker pulled a Jose Canseco when he saw that the house next door to him was on fire, and he rushed into the burning building to save his neighbor. Newspapers and constituents are calling him a "rock star mayor" and superhero. Did Booker take the day off to recuperate and tend to second degree burns on his hand? Nope—for there were traffic lights that needed his full attention! "The traffic light is back in service. Thanks for pointing it out to me. @sheLLinhas1231" he tweeted this morning at a constituent who had tweeted him earlier today.
You can read a recap and timeline of the events surrounding the fire and the daring rescue at The Star-Ledger. Below, Booker discusses what he calls his "come to Jesus moment"—including tussling with his security detail, and describing what was going through his mind as he bravely went in to save his neighbor:
In the video below, the family and friends of Zina Hodge, the woman who had been trapped in the building, discuss Booker, whom they call a "superhero:"
Rescuing his neighbor from a burning building was only the latest in near-mythological Booker stories: last year, he personally shoveled constituents' driveways during the Blizzageddon, and he reportedly helped a drug dealer named T-Bone turn his life around after he had threatened to kill him. That folklore made its way to Twitter, with people tweeting #CoryBooker Stories—that included, "Cory Booker not only heard the voice from the burning bush, he saved two larks and a squirrel that were inside it" and "Potholes fill themselves when Cory Booker walks by."
Booker was flattered by the attention: "Grateful to #CoryBookerStories 4 bringing smiles. Fire safety, however, is a serious matter."