3 rescued from fire in Brooklyn

March 24, 2009 3:35:42 PM PDT
In Brooklyn, rescue crew had to take quick action to get to people trapped in a burning home Tuesday morning.Firefighters used a tower ladder to pull victims from the flames. Several people were hurt.

The fire broke out on Palmetto Street in the Bushwick section. Heavy smoke and flames blocked the path to the fire escape, and jumping was not an option.

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As soon as firefighters arrived, they knew they had to act fast.

"You could feel the heat when it first started," resident Chetkiela Jenkins said. "You could hear the windows breaking and everything."

"We heard screams from the rear window and originally saw two civilians...on the third floor," Battalion Chief Joe Schiralli said.

Without missing a beat, crews from Ladder Co. 124 zeroed in on the top-floor window, which were blocked by child-proof guards. Firefighter Giovanni Martinez rode a bucket up to the window, ripped off the bars and went into the smoke and flames to reach the residents. One-by-one, he guided three people from the burning structure.

"I commend the firemen," resident Elaine Hamilton said. "We just kept saying to ourselves, we didn't know how they kept going in there. And they were on the roof, and I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about it."

The fire started around 8 a.m. Many people were asleep and had only minutes to react.

Everyone got out of the building safely. Nine firefighters suffered minor injuries, and many say if it weren't for them, people would've died.

Because it's not clear how or where the fire started, fire marshals have been called in to investigate.


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