September 29, 2023


Firefighters from Ladder 32 saved a woman from a Bronx apartment fire on Sept. 14, and one of the rescuers has just four months on the job.

“They did a great job, I’m really, really proud,” Capt. Patrick Tracy said.

Just after 6 a.m., firefighters received a call for a fire on the fifth floor of a six-story apartment building on Colden Avenue. As the members of Ladder 32 – including Capt. Tracy and Firefighters Vincent Musacchio, Ryan Blackwell, Sean O’Donnell, Robert Rufh and Luis Cruz – made their way to the scene, Capt. Tracy said he saw a column of smoke coming from the location. Then, when they arrived, they saw fire blowing out the windows.

There were reports of people trapped on various floors, so the members of Ladder 32 made their way to the apartment where the fire was located.

The door was locked, so they quickly forced it open. Inside the apartment, they encountered difficult conditions – zero visibility and heavy heat.

Capt. Tracy and Firefighter Blackwell went to the right and Firefighter Musacchio went to the left. Firefighter Blackwell used the extinguisher to push back the fire, which was located in the kitchen and had begun moving down the hallway.

As they continued their search, Firefighter Blackwell found one victim, a woman in her 50s, in the hallway between the bedroom and bathroom. Firefighter Musacchio located another, a man in his 20s, in a bedroom.

They removed both unconscious victims through the hallway and EMS members transported them to Jacobi Hospital. The woman is in critical condition and the male victim later died from his injuries.

The rescuers

Firefighter Blackwell graduated from the Fire Academy just four months ago. He said when he located the victim he was “nervous and excited” but just relied on his training to ensure everything went smoothly.

Capt. Tracy said he was especially proud of Firefighter Blackwell because he helped train him and the other new firefighters as an instructor at the Academy.

Firefighter Blackwell said he always wanted to be a firefighter, but his dad, Firefighter Chris Blackwell, Rescue 3, who was killed on 9/11, was a great inspiration.

Firefighter Musacchio, a 9-year veteran of the FDNY, performed another rescue on May 31, saving a man from a fire. He said he was happy to recently learn the man is improving and is now rehabilitating.

“It’s always a great feeling to be a part of something like [a rescue] – it’s teamwork and to work together to help someone is a great feeling,” he said. “I know it’s our job, but it’s a powerful experience.”

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