FDNY Firefighters Use Rare Roof-Rope Rescue to Save Woman from Harlem Fire

1010 Wins - September 02, 2020

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A team of FDNY firefighters used a rare “roof-rope” maneuver to rescue a panicked woman from a high-rise apartment fire on Tuesday, authorities said.

The blaze tore through an apartment on the 16th floor of a building on Lenox Avenue, near West 134th Street, around 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday, the FDNY said. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found a frightened woman standing on the ledge of one of the apartment’s windows, clinging to the window panes.

That’s when the team decided to employ a rarely-used “roof-rope rescue” to aid the woman, the department said.

Several firefighters quickly assembled on the 17th floor of the building, directly above the burning apartment, and lowered Firefighter Brian Quinn out the window and down to the 16th floor using a rope, video shows.

When Quinn reached the woman, he managed to keep her calm while another team of firefighters extinguished the flames inside the apartment, the FDNY said.

“I stayed at the window and tried to calm her down, and told her not to jump, that we were going to come and get her,” Quinn recalled after the incident. “My lieutenant, Jason Norwich, was inside trying to coax her in, but she was completely panicked and she was not going to let go.”

“I was right behind her, so if she did decide to jump or let go, I was holding her to the glass,” he added. “I just said, ‘I’m not going to let you fall. We’re going to get you inside.’”

Quinn brought the woman to safety inside the apartment once his colleagues inside extinguished the bulk of the fire, the department said. Two civilians were taken to Harlem Hospital for treatment after the fire, the FDNY said. Their conditions weren’t immediately available.

The department brought the blaze under control by around 2:05 p.m., it said.

“This is really a heroic rescue, and it really shows the talent and the bravery of the members of the FDNY,” Commissioner Daniel Nigro said after the rescue. “It’s something that’s rarely done, and yet they exercised their skills quickly, they assessed the situation quickly, and they did what had to be done bravely.”

Quinn said he and his fellow firefighters had been practicing the “roof-rope rescue” “no more than two hours” before the fire broke out.

“We train all the time,” he said. “That’s our job.”