In a daring pre-dawn rescue yesterday, two hero paramedics rushed into a burning building in The Bronx, alerting sleeping residents and then scaling up a treacherous fire escape to save a terrified toddler, fire officials said.
FDNY Emergency Medical Technicians Bruce Geiser, 25, and Andrew Poliakoff, 33, were cruising in their ambulance about 5 a.m. when they saw smoke and flames billowing from 1204 Gilbert Place in Hunts Point.
The fire, which Fire Chief Kevin Butler said was likely caused by lit candles in a third floor apartment that didn’t have electricity, quickly spread when the fleeing dwellers failed to close the door behind them.
As the two paramedics ran through the building banging on doors they reached the source of the fire, but "after about four or five feet the place was impenetrable," Poliakoff recalled.
Back outside, fire trucks from Ladder 42 were pulling up at the scene. But that’s when residents yelled there was a toddler on the top floor fire escape landing.
The daring duo went back into action.
"The fire escape was icy so it was really rough going up," said Poliakoff. "I picked her up and asked her if she was OK and she said, ‘yes.’ I told her, 'hold on tight."
A smiling Geiser added, "She was able to follow our command, which was good for us." The child was unharmed.
Ladder 42 firefighters discovered a 30-year-old woman, believed to the child’s mom, unconscious and without a pulse, in the stairwell between the third and fourth floors.
She was taken to Jacobi Hospital where she is expected to survive.
Nine other residents suffered minor injuries.
Republished with permission of The New York Post