Couple Rescued From NYC Blaze

A hero mom herded her children out of a burning Bronx building yesterday, then darted back inside the inferno to warn neighbors and try to save her husband, witnesses said. Rosa Nuñez, 34, was found unconscious by firefighters in her sec ond-floor...


A hero mom herded her children out of a burning Bronx building yesterday, then darted back inside the inferno to warn neighbors and try to save her husband, witnesses said.

Rosa Nuñez, 34, was found unconscious by firefighters in her sec ond-floor apartment just feet from her hus band, who was also overcome by smoke.

Firefighters pulled both Nuñez and her husband, Fausto Florentino, from the six-story, West Tremont Avenue building. Both were in serious condition at Jacobi Medical Center. "She's not conscious," said Nuñez's sister, Cecilia Mota. "She had a lot of smoke inhalation, and the doctors are saying her lungs are really damaged. They are keeping her under sedation, hoping that will help. He is badly burned on his arms, neck, back and face, but he is the one doing better because he had less smoke damage."

She said the couple's three children were safe and staying with their grandmother. The cause of the fire was still under investigation, but Mota said firefighters told her the 3:40 a.m. blaze may have started because an oven was used to heat the apartment. She said neighbors had already sung her sister's praises to her, saying Nuñez woke them before the flames spread.

One resident, Harold Weekes Jr., 40, reported seeing the couple's three children, two boys, 3 and 10, and a girl, 14, huddled in the cold after their mother brought them out. "[The 10-year-old] said they were sleeping, Mommy woke them up, said it was a fire," he said. "He said it was in the kitchen, the mother got the kids out, and she went back into the apartment to get the husband, and that's when the firemen brought them down. They were both unconscious."

Capt. Jim Rogers of Ladder Co. 59 told The Post smoke was billowing from the apartment door when he and his men broke it down. He said he spotted Nuñez right away.

"I looked down and saw a head in the hallway on the floor," he said.

Two firefighters dragged Nuñez to safety while Rogers ventured farther into the apartment, finding Florentino about 10 feet away.

Neither Nuñez nor Florentino were breathing when firefighters began performing CPR, but both were resuscitated, the FDNY said.

"It's very encouraging," said Rogers. "It's very rewarding to save lives like this and to have a successful outcome like this."

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Both Nuñez and Florentino were still in serious condition last night.

"My sister is a very brave and strong woman," said Mota. "She's going to need that strength because she's fighting for her life now in the ICU. Please pray for her."

Republished with permission of The New York Post.