A Brooklyn firefighter who had been searching an apartment for potentially trapped occupants was engulfed in flames when the entire third floor erupted Monday morning. He was pulled to safety by a fellow firefighter to the awe of stunned witnesses below, but is now suffering severe burns and is in critical condition.
According to a department official, the firefighter, from Rescue 2 in Crown Heights, was taken to Cornell University Medical Center in Manhattan with burns over 42 percent of his body.
“It was crazy. It was ablaze. The firefighter was about to jump he was screaming like crazy,” said Victor Vargas, who works at a nearby deli. “We smelled the smoke and ran over.”
Vargas added, “the firefighter on ladder started beating the fire [on him] with his hands.”
The New York Post adds:
Video taken by a witness shows a firefighter slowly - but methodically -- pulling a firefighter covered with flames out from the window onto a almost horizontal truck ladder some three stories in the air.
Red and orange flames can be seen shooting from the buildings as debris rained down below. [...]
“One firefighter appeared at the window with heavy fire and he escaped down the ladder. He was the most seriously injured,” said Edward Baggott, an FDNY deputy assistant chief. [...]
Investigators do not believe the fire is suspicious and the home was not occupied at the time.
The home is owned by city school teacher and her family.
“They are coping the best they can,” said June’s brother Leon Brewster. “I don’t know they can stay.”
According to the Post, annother firefighter was also taken to Cornell in serious condition while two others sustained minor injuries.