FDNY firefighters and EMS members saved the lives of three young children from a fire on Loring Avenue in Brooklyn on July 29.
“It’s what we strive to do every day and it’s a good thing to be able to save someone’s life,” Lt. Christopher Bedard, Ladder 107, said. “Everyone involved did a phenomenal job.”
Firefighters were called to the building just after 11 a.m. As they responded, the members of Ladder 107, including Lt. Bedard, and Firefighters Timothy Sonnenberg, Daniel Simon, Frank Blackstone, Michael Pfaff and Justin Tallett, were told there were children trapped in the fourth-floor fire apartment.
Upon arrival, Firefighter Blackstone and Firefighter Sonnenberg, the company’s chauffeur, went to the rear of the residence with the fire apparatus. They saw there were children in the window, with their heads between the child guards.
Even though there was a fence and trees blocking them, Firefighter Blackstone said, “As soon as we saw the kids, we knew we had to do everything we could to help.”
Firefighter Sonnenberg guided the rig through the trees and crushed part of a fence to position it perfectly. He then moved Firefighter Blackstone in the bucket to the window.
He said the children (ages 8 and 5) were crying, but calm. They backed up a little bit while he cut the child gate with a saw, and he then lifted them from the window into the bucket.
“They did a good job getting to the window,” he said. “They were very brave.”
He asked if anyone else was in the apartment, and the older child said his sister (who was with him), brother and grandfather. He reassured them that firefighters inside the apartment would help their brother and grandfather, and he checked an adjacent window before bringing them to awaiting police officers on the ground.
Simultaneously, Lt. Bedard, Firefighter Pfaff and Probationary Firefighter Tallett went upstairs to the fire floor. The apartment door had been left open when the grandfather self-evacuated, so the entire fourth floor was filled with smoke.
The firefighters crawled down the hallway to the fire apartment. The fire was in the living room, and they were able to keep the flames back with their water can as firefighters from Engine 225 hooked up to the hydrant, which was in a challenging location behind the building.
There were two rear bedrooms and Firefighter Pfaff went to search one while Firefighter Tallett, a former Army medic, searched the other. Firefighter Tallett said he saw a television with cartoons on in the room, and what appeared to be a crib or bunk beds. He felt below some blankets and found an unconscious 3-year-old boy who was not breathing.
He carried him out through the apartment and downstairs to awaiting firefighters.
From there, the boy was passed along to EMTs Kenneth Barriteau and Ewelina Zielinska from Station 39. They resuscitated him on the way to the hospital.
All members were humble about their involvement in the rescues.
“You don’t really think about anything going on, you just focus on your job,” Probationary Firefighter Tallett said about his first rescue since graduating from the Academy on June 3. “It’s a great feeling to be able to save people.”
Firefighter Blackstone agreed, “This is what this job is all about. I’m just glad they’re ok.”