The flames broke out on the 13th floor of a 14-story building in the Edenwald Houses just before 3 a.m.
The FDNY says firefighters from Engine 38 and Ladder 51 forced open the door to the fire apartment and were met with zero visibility, high heat and a heavy clutter condition.
"Bags and bags of stuff," FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Gunning said. "That's where you can't even walk through the hallway. I mean, you have to climb over stuff just to get from one room to the other."
While performing a search, Firefighter Rostantin Kruczowy crawled passed the fire into the back bedroom, where he found the 53-year-old woman unconscious between the bed and the wall.
"I honestly couldn't believe that there was a victim there," Kruczowy said.
He pulled her from the apartment, and units began patient care in the hallway.
"I feel an incredible sense of firehouse pride for Ladder 51 and Engine 38 right now," Kruczowy said.
She was transferred to a local hospital in critical condition, but she is expected to be OK.
A second person suffered minor injuries.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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