A New York City firefighter is being credited for risking his own life and safety to save a mother and child after a Bronx apartment building erupted in flames Sunday morning.
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The horrific blaze unfolded in a five-story building, reportedly trapping the mother and her daughter, WABC-TV reported.
A neighbor said she heard their screams but couldn’t get to them to help.
“I heard them screaming. I couldn’t get to them. There was too much smoke,” she said. “It was so heartbreaking, ’cause I know them. I was so sorry for her and the baby.”
Fortunately, a frantic citizen had already run down the road to a local fire station and began pounding on the door to ask for help — a move that likely saved lives.
“We got a knock at the front door — a panicked civilian banging on the door saying there was a fire up the street,” FDNY Capt. Stephen Elliott told the New York Post, noting the crew jumped into action. “As soon as we pulled out of the firehouse, we saw the smoke coming from the top floor of the building.”
Lt. John Vanderstar with the FDNY was among those who showed up and saved the day.
With flames spreading and with no water yet disseminated to temper the raging inferno, Vanderstar ran through the fire and into the apartment.
Now, he is being hailed a hero.
“As he entered the fire apartment, he heard cries of a child and made the decision with his inside team to push past that fire,” FDNY Deputy Chief Paul Miller told WABC-TV. “He’s been recognized for his bravery, and he did it again today.”
Elliott told the Post the rescue was truly notable, as the woman and child likely wouldn’t have survived much longer inside the building.
“If [the mother and child] were in that apartment for another minute or two, they most likely had no chance of survival,” he said. “It’s an amazing rescue.”
The mother and child had critical injuries, but were transported for treatment and listed in stable condition.
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