Firefighter revived after collapsing in Bronx house fire; 2 other firefighters hurt

Josh Einiger Image
Saturday, May 18, 2024
Firefighter revived after collapsing in house fire; 2 other firefighters hurt
Josh Einiger has the latest developments from the Bronx.

CLASON POINT, The Bronx (WABC) -- Three firefighters were injured, two seriously, while battling a blaze in the Clason Point section of the Bronx on Friday afternoon.

The fire quickly raged through the home on White Plains Road around 3 p.m. Thick black smoke could be seen billowing from the home.

Well after dark, fire marshals pored over a gutted house in the Bronx after a fire that raged through it and almost claimed one of their own.

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh and Mayor Eric Adams rushed to Jacobi Hospital.

"I cannot stress enough how dangerous this job is and how quickly it can go wrong," said Kavanagh.

As firefighters advanced through the thick smoke, the one holding the nozzle suddenly complained he was having trouble breathing - and then collapsed, after somehow inhaling a potentially lethal amount of smoke.

Fellow firefighters pulled him to safety, but he was not breathing - that is when paramedics administered a drug called hydroxocobalamin, which counteracted the cyanide in his bloodstream, and brought him back to life.

"It really is a miracle drug," said Kavanagh.

Now, as investigators try to determine a cause for the fire, they are also trying to figure out how the firefighter was overcome - he was fully outfitted with an oxygen tank and a mask, but somehow his gear did not protect him.

"We're investigating that. We take their mask, the breathing apparatus, bring it to our shop - they're doing a thorough inspection of it - they're gonna get to the bottom of that," said FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens.

Back at the scene of the fire, 30-year resident Jose Fernandez stood in shock. Fernandez keeps a pigeon coop on the roof of the adjacent garage, which is about the only thing that is unharmed.

He is one of the five people the Red Cross now has to put up.

"Where am I gonna live now? But they're gonna fix it. It can be fixed - not if you die," Fernandez said.

Aurelia Canales has lived there for 55 years. She says Fernandez is the one who alerted her to the smoke. If not for him, she wonders if she would have survived.

"God bless his heart. With his problems that he has, at least he was able to act," Canales said.

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