FDNY Firefighters Rescue Three from Brooklyn Fire
Firefighter Lawrence Hollingsworth describes the rescues.
FDNY firefighters in Brooklyn saved three women, including one in a wheelchair, from a 2-alarm fire on Jan. 15.
“All units did a great job extinguishing the fire and saving lives today,” Battalion 39 Chief James McDermott said.
Fire was first reported around 12:27 p.m. in the Pink Houses on Stanley Avenue.
When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy smoke and fire blowing out the two windows. People were shouting that there were people trapped.
Firefighters from Ladder 107 made their way to the fourth floor. Firefighter Lawrence Hollingsworth said there was so much smoke, “we weren’t able to see anything at all.”
They found one unconscious woman in the hallway, and immediately rushed her downstairs to receive treatment from EMS members.
Firefighter Hollingsworth said he felt a woman’s wheelchair in the doorway of the apartment. He said it appeared she had been trying to escape, but got caught on debris and was overcome by smoke.
“She was not conscious, so we just wanted to get her to an area of refuge as quickly as possible,” he said.
He and Firefighter Damion Waite pulled her to the floor, where there was more oxygen, then to the stairway and downstairs, where EMS members began treatment.
While downstairs, they said a teenager was trying to get back inside to save his dogs, but they would not allow him upstairs.
Capt. Glenn Radermacher, Ladder 107, said they then heard a sound from behind the wheelchair, about 10 feet into the apartment. It was a third victim, who Firefighters Hollingsworth and Waite carried downstairs.
He said they located the dogs and provided CPR, but were unable to save them.
“There was no visibility and clutter everywhere, it was a difficult situation,” he said.
Simultaneously, firefighters from Engine 225 were preparing to extinguish the fire. Lt. Jeff Callaghan said the fire was in a rear bedroom.
“There was fire coming out the top of the [bedroom] door,” he said. “So we had to act fast.”
Clutter in front of and behind the bedroom door made it difficult for firefighters to make their way inside to battle the fire. Firefighters quickly moved debris and another firefighter took the bedroom door off its hinges to get inside.
“With zero visibility, we just did our job, what we’re trained to do,” Firefighter Hollingsworth said.