Saturday morning was chaotic and confusing for residents of the high-rise building. Many of them told CBS2’s John Dias that they didn’t hear any smoke detectors going off, but the smell of fire is what caused the pandemonium.
The FDNY says it’s a rare lifesaving method, but by 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning, it was needed. Four brave first responders used what is called a roofline rescue to save two people trapped in a burning apartment.
Firefighter Arthur Podgorski is one of the heroes who reduced part of the tower to the 20th floor.
“First identified that we had a victim who was stuck in the window door. So my role was to go under the victim and start to gain weight, hold weight so that the limb above I can free her arm and I can hold her and bring her safely below,” he explained.
Neighbors watched in awe, captivated by their skills. Officials say first responders arrived at the scene within three minutes.
“I can’t say enough about the New York firefighters. They were…the job they did was just amazing. You could see their focus. You could see their safety first, they were going to save this person,” a witness said. said Amy Bernstein.
Prior to the rescue, heavy smoke was seen billowing from the windows of the unit on East 52nd Street.
The pictures below show how the interior of the apartment and the hallway now look.
Most residents of the building were initially ordered to shelter in place, as they live in fireproof apartments, until it is possible to evacuate safely. security.
“The smoke was getting a lot thicker, so it was quite terrifying,” said one resident.
“We had to go down 28 flights of stairs. There was water dripping from the pipes on the stairs,” said resident Elizabeth Donohue.
Jillian Mitchell and her fiancé fled immediately before first responders arrived to provide advice.
“We probably got to the 20th floor when the smoke was really bad. We were putting our shirts over our noses,” Mitchell said. “Actually, I didn’t think we were going to get there.”
Both needed FDNY medical attention and were hooked up to oxygen, but Mitchell, who trained for the New York City Marathon, says even that won’t stop her.
“I feel confident enough now to say I’m going to continue the marathon,” she said.
Officials say a lithium-ion battery caused the fire, intended to power a micro-mobility device, such as an electric bicycle. They recovered at least five bicycles from the apartment which caught fire.
“We believe the occupier was repairing bicycles in the building,” said Dan Flynn, fire chief for the FDNY Bureau of Fire Investigation. “These fires, they happen without warning. When they ignite, they are so intense that all combustibles in the area ignite.”
The city’s chief fire marshal says these types of fires have increased. This year they had to put out nearly 200 causes this way and six people died.
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