When lives are on the line, being at the right place at the right time makes all the difference. And, when precious seconds count, an off-duty Brooklyn firefighter having an SCBA made the difference for a young child in Brooklyn Monday morning.
Firefighter Stefon Douglas from Engine 276 was getting home from work in the Flatlands neighborhood when he sprung into action.
"I had just parked my car and noticed heavy black smoke coming from a house on the block. Occupants were self-evacuating from the house, but they indicated that someone might still be inside," Douglas said.
"Luckily, I had a self-contained breathing apparatus in my car as I had done a career day event at a local school earlier in the week. I had a t-shirt and shoes on which left me pretty exposed.
Unable to enter the home due to heavy fire and smoke condition, Douglas went to the rear of the structure and found a man using a garden house to battle the fire.
"I took the garden hose from him and extended it into the house as far as I could, I was able to knock down pockets of fire. I then heard whimpering coming from further inside the house.
While conducting a left-hand search, he found a child in the bathroom and was able to escape the home with the child and bring them to safety.
As he got outside, FDNY Ladder 159 arrived and continued searching the home where they located a second victim who they rescued.