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Family of Three Rescued by Firefighters from Bronx High-Rise Blaze

NY Daily News - July 03, 2017

by RIKKI REYNA JOHN ANNESE

Heavy smoke gushed through a Bronx high-rise Sunday, backing one family into their bathroom, where they opened the window, placed towels under the door and prayed firefighters would get to them in time.

The fire broke out just before 7 p.m. on the 10th floor of a 20-story Butler Houses building on Webster Ave. and E. 170th St. in Claremont Village.

Kristopher Walker, who lives next door to the apartment where the fire started, said he, his wife and his 10-year-old child were watching TV when they smelled smoke.

“I saw black smoke coming in from the top of my door,” he said. “I opened my door to get to the staircase, but we couldn’t get to it, the staircase was too covered.”

The family turned on fans and barricaded themselves in the bathroom. “I just kept fanning and calling for help. The Fire Department came, they busted in every other window in the crib,” he said.

“The smoke was so bad they kept running into my apartment because they couldn't catch their breath -- and these guys got oxygen masks.”

Firefighters brought the blaze under control just after 8:05 p.m., as hundreds of people watched from the ground below.

One person suffered minor injuries but refused medical attention at the scene, an FDNY spokesman said.

Walker said he tried to keep his cool.

"I mean, it's my life on the line ... I got a 10-year-old child, of course I was scared. Just got to be calm and try to handle the situation. I got my wife, my lady with me,” he said. “Of course, what am I gonna do? You know what I'm saying, you gotta be a man, so that's what happened."

Anthony Jamie, 35, said he was relaxing in his 13th-floor apartment when he looked out his window and saw the smoke rising.

“My neighbors came outside in the hallway because they could see smoke, too, and they were scared and just wanted to stay in their apartment,” he said. “But I got out of there fast, I didn't even put socks on. I threw my shoes on as I was going down the stairs."