June 1, 2023

Man and Firefighters Rescued from Fire in New Rochelle, NY



NEW ROCHELLE — Firefighters resuscitated a man they pulled from a burning building and then had to rescue their own after a three-alarm blaze flashed over in a large apartment building, officials said.

In total, eight people were injured, including a firefighter who fell from the three-story building, officials said. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

The stubborn fire was first reported around 8:30 a.m. at 470 Pelham Road. Deputy Fire Chief John Marshall, among the first responders, said judging from its intensity when firefighters arrived, the blaze may have been burning for sometime before being reported.

A woman standing on the curb with her daughter yelled to first responders that her husband was still inside the family’s top-floor apartment, Marshall said. Firefighters ran in to search and one of them, Danny Thompson, found the man in the bathroom. Carrying him outside, firefighters performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

About the same time responders were sending the man to Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital, the fire inside the building flashed over – a dangerous reaction that occurs when temperatures get so hot superheated gases ignite and explode.

“You heard it, felt it and saw it,” Marshall said of the flashover.

Two firefighters were inside at the time, by a top-floor window, officials said. One of them reached over to an exterior railing and attempted to swing himself out but lost his footing on the landing and fell 25 feet, fracturing his arm and pelvis, Fire Chief Louis DiMeglio said. The other became trapped and was rescued by two sets of firefighters — one crew using a water hose to keep the flames from reaching him while a second extended a ladder to bring him down, Marshall said.

In total seven firefighters suffered injuries, ranging from minor burns to ankle and back pain.

The blaze proved hard to extinguish with much of it caught in the space between the ceiling on the top floor and building roof, both inaccessible to firefighters after the flashover when all crews were ordered out of the building and left to battle the blaze from the outside only.

The Red Cross said 75 people in 36 apartments were displaced, and a reception center opened for residents will become a temporary shelter Saturday night.

Alba Valentin, 41, said she was asleep when her sister woke her up in a panic.

“My sister said she heard somebody screaming, and then she opened the window in the living room, looked out, and saw flames,” Valentin said, adding her sister then saw a window explode. “She said, ‘Get out! Get out! There’s a fire! We have to get out of the building!’ ”

Several pets also were rescued, including two dogs witnesses said they saw rescuers pull from the building, outfitting them with oxygen masks.

But others perished, including two cats and a bird belonging to Stephanie Roman, 24, who said she was sleeping when she was awoken by screams.

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