1. #1
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    Here, There, Everywhere

    Thumbs up 2 saved from burning building in rope rescue

    2 saved from burning building in rope rescue

    Every firefighter is trained to do it, but New York City firefighters can spend their whole careers never seeing a rope rescue performed.

    Over the weekend in the Bronx, Jeff Cool of Garnerville and Pat McKenna of Tappan, both firefighters with Rescue 3 in the Bronx, went over the side of the roof of a four-story building on a rope to pluck two people from windows as fire swelled.

    "It's the first time I've ever done it in real life," Cool said yesterday. "I've trained on this. ... It's drilled into your head from Day 1."

    Saturday at 7 p.m. on Bruckner Boulevard, plenty of people needed rescuing, seven in all. Some were taken out through the building, others by aerial ladder. But there appeared to be only one way to save a woman hanging out one window, and a man screaming at another.

    So when Rescue 3 arrived, Cool and McKenna climbed the ladder to the roof, and each put on a rope. Rescue 3 Lt. Kevin Williams coordinated both efforts to lower Cool and McKenna, who were about 6 feet apart.

    "I got to the window with my guy, Mr. Perez," Cool said. Though Cool is a big man, Perez was bigger, and scared. "He's a 200-plus pound man I'm 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. He was saying, 'I'm gonna die.' "

    Cool said he assured Perez that he wasn't, and then worked to fulfill that.

    "Somewhere I got the strength. I just bear-hugged him," Cool said. He lifted Perez out the window.

    "Then they lowered us down," said Cool, the father of two. "I was just holding onto him for dear life. I was holding onto him like one of my newborns. ... The whole thing went phenomenal."

    Meanwhile, McKenna was nearby, at another window, rescuing a woman in her 50s.

    "She was panicking. She was in dire straits," McKenna said last night from his East 176th Street firehouse.

    The smoke and heat had kept her from going out her apartment's door, and she hung out the window, trying to get as much air as she could, McKenna said.

    "Our only option was out that window," McKenna said. "When I went over the side of the roof on a rope, she realized that. She wasn't expecting a fireman at the end of a rope.

    "I got situated on the windowsill; I grasped her."

    The simultaneous rescues were rare and heroic, Williams said.

    "It's really, truly a measure of last resort," said Williams, a 25-year Fire Department veteran who has served with special units since 1980. "I've been involved in one other personally," he said, and though he has seen a rope rescue then followed minutes later by another, he had never seen two at once.

    "The risk to the firefighter is huge," Williams said. "If you have to pick five different ways to rescue someone, this is desperation time."

    Saturday night on Bruckner Avenue fit that description.

    As the fire got stronger, the victims below grew more panicked.

    "They were ready to jump," Williams said. "Both had resigned themselves they weren't gonna make it. They have fire behind them, then a fireman on a rope comes, they're afraid of the height."

    All seven of the people rescued from the building were taken to area hospitals, as were nine firefighters. Most had smoke inhalation, and none of their conditions appeared to be serious, Williams said.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-14-2004 at 10:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 2 saved from burning building in rope rescue

    First off I would like to congratulate each and everyone involved in getting the victims out save.

    I do have one concern though and it is locked up in the last part of the report.

    Originally posted by FFFRED
    as were nine firefighters. Most had smoke inhalation, and none of their conditions appeared to be serious, Williams said.
    Is it really necessay for firefighters in this day and age to still suffer from smoke inhalation?

  4. #4
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    Jan 1999


    Now thats COOL! No pun intended.

  5. #5
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    Sitting in my chair, listening to the scanner while the young kids respond


    Outstanding job. Glad they had good training as it is easy to get stale on this type of rescue since it is seldom used. Sure took guts.

    As to "smoke inhalation", it is my experience that most of what the media refers to as this is really "exhaustion" or dehydration and often both. Very seldom is it really the result of smoke but if this was the only mistake the media ever makes we have little to worry about.

    Stay safe,

    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

  6. #6
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    UsingAllHands's Avatar
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    New York, NY: The city so awesome, they named it twice!


    Yeah, a great job by the Brothers in The Bronx. The article got some information wrong. The civilians were the ones who were treated for smoke inhalation. Only one out of the nine injured firefighters suffered from smoke inhalation, the rest of the injuries were also minor. It is my understanding that the firefighter with smoke inhalation was due to his sharing of his mask with a civilian. I know that by the books this is generally a no-no, but in the real world that decision might have just been what saved that person's life. I believe that victim was removed via the interior stairs. Hat's off to the Brothers for an outstanding effort.

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