Photo credit: New York Post
A terrified woman fleeing a fire in her family's Queens apartment leaped from a fourth-floor window yesterday - and miraculously survived with only a broken leg.
Mercedes Lugo, 53, landed on a small strip of grass below, missing by mere inches the pavement and a spiked fence.
"She was very lucky," said neighbor Nancy Hoffman, who ran out of her first-floor apartment at 37-33 83rd St. in Jackson Heights when the blaze broke out at 7 a.m.
Lugo, who was still conscious after she hit the ground, was comforted by neighbors who placed a blanket around her and remained with her until firefighters and paramedics arrived minutes later.
Hoffman said Lugo and her family, including her husband, Luis, and son, Bobby, had tried to escape through the apartment door, but it was stuck.
Lugo had already jumped when Hoffman looked up at the burning building, where smoke was billowing from the shattered window.
She saw that Lugo's husband and son had their heads hanging out the window, and also appeared ready to jump.
"They were really desperate. They were just about to jump and we called out to them to hold on, and luckily they waited," Hoffman said.
Minutes later, firefighters Dean Stephan and Joe Abbamonte used an aerial ladder to pluck the two to safety.
Hoffman said the family's cat died in the fire, which officials believe started in their kitchen.
Lugo was taken to Elmhurst Hospital.
Lugo's brother, Jos