Firefighter Dies in 5-Story Fall Battling Queens Blaze: Officials

DNA Info - April 20, 2017

by Ben Fractenberg and Gwynne Hogan

QUEENS — A firefighter died after falling five stories from the bucket of a firetruck ladder while responding to a blaze in Ridgewood Thursday afternoon, according to the FDNY and witnesses.

"It just sound like an explosion. All I saw was the firemen came running down," said Angie Cordero, 43, who lives across the street from where the fire broke out. "The moment that I saw the body hit the ground I was shook. It was something like out of a movie.”

More than 100 firefighters responded after the fire started out on the second floor of a residential building at 1615 Putnam Ave. near Wyckoff Avenue at about 2:30 p.m., a fire department spokeswoman said.

The fireman was in bucket at the end of ladder when he plunged five stories, an eyewitness said.

Witness Mayer Weber, who was across the street when the first responder fell, said the side door of the bucket was open when the accident happened.

"I saw the bucket jerk. When it jerked, he fell," Weber said. "That door was open. It jerked. He fell sideways. Everyone started running."

The firefighter was taken to Wyckoff Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The three civilians suffered minor injuries.

The fire was brought under control at about 3 p.m.