Firefighter who suffered internal burns in NYC blaze released from hospital to applause

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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A firefighter who was injured battling fire walked out of Staten Island University Hospital Wednesday to the applause of fellow firefighters. Lauren Glassberg has the story.

BULLS HEAD, Staten Island (WABC) -- A firefighter who inhaled potentially deadly gases while battling a townhouse fire walked out of Staten Island University Hospital Wednesday morning to the applause of fellow firefighters.

"I'm really happy to be here with everybody," firefighter Dominic Ventolora said, adding the first thing he planned to do was "sleep."

The 35-year-old sustained life threatening burns to his airways when his face mask was knocked off while battling a fire at 77 Gary Court Friday night.

The nozzle of a fire hose hit his facepiece, sending it flying.

Without his mask for protection, Ventolora inhaled hot gas directly from the blaze, suffering internal injuries to his esophagus.

Fellow firefighters rushed him out of the townhouse and to the hospital, where he was quickly treated.

"Recognizing the seriousness of the injury, when you have an inhalation injury, you are fighting for your life," said Dr. Michael Cooper, of Staten Island University Hospital's' burn unit. "You don't have oxygen, so getting him here was the key to him walking around here, looking so good today."

Ventolora is an 8-year veteran assigned to Engine 166 in Graniteville.

"I'm glad I was with the right people," he said. "I just want to thank all my friends that were there at the fire, because they are very good at their job. If they weren't, it could have been real different."

He was previously hailed a hero for helping rescue of an infant trapped with family in a minivan that had been overtaken by floodwaters in September of 2021.

"It's amazing we have someone come in, fighting for their life, and to see him walk here, with his brothers at the FDNY, is just an amazing day," Dr. Cooper said. "He's not out of the woods yet, but we are so happy he is up and walking around today."

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