Queens heroes rescue family from burning home

N.J. Burkett reports from Jamaica
October 21, 2013 5:34:14 PM PDT
A pair of heroes in Queens raced to the rescue of people in a burning house in Queens.

It happened on 140th Avenue in Jamaica.

The identity of one of the heroes remains a mystery.

"One thing I keep hearing is the father screaming for help, that's all I keep thinking about," said Horace Palmer, a neighbor.

Horace Palmer heard the screams and came running.

His neighbor was trapped in the basement by the choking smoke. So he smashed the window and used his bleeding hands to pull him out.

"Jumped the fence, broke the glass, pulled him out, another Good Samaritan who was driving by in an SUV, silver, helped me pull him out without him getting cut," Palmer said.

Palmer says that other man may have been a passing livery driver. On the other side of the house, a man and his children were jumping from the second story.

"Another person was on the side and they were jumping out of the window and he caught them," Palmer said.

"He just, like anybody would do come rescue whoever he can," a neighbor said.

The fire left the interior of the house in ruins. It started at about 7 o'clock on Sunday morning. And thanks to the neighbors, and the passing motorist, no one was seriously hurt.

But it was a very close call.

"About a minute because the whole place was up in flames," Palmer said, "If no one had the sense of mind to help them I don't even want to think about would have happened."

This man is the landlord's insurance adjuster.

"How lucky were those people to get out of there," Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett asked.

"God was kind to the, God was kind to them, thank God," the insurance adjuster said.

The names of the victims were not released. Late Monday, investigators said the fire started when an unattended iron set a mattress on fire.

The fire spread because the tenants tried to put it out themselves and there were no working smoke detectors.