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“It’s a happy day for her, and it’s a happy day for all of us,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro
A New York City firefighter saved a woman's life after she attempted to escape a blaze in her 16th-floor apartment by clinging to her outside window.
The New York City Fire Department shared video footage of the daring roof-rope rescue, in which firefighter Brian Quinn was lowered down via rope to the “panicked” woman to rescue her from the flames growing inside her apartment on Tuesday in Harlem.
“This is really a heroic rescue, and it really shows the talent and bravery of the members of the New York City Fire Department,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a Facebook post. “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 explained that he and fellow firefighter Pat Chiarel responded by going to the 17th floor, just above the woman, while another team battled the flames inside the apartment. Quinn stayed with her at the window and encouraged her not to jump as he tried to calm her down, he said.
“I was scared,” he told CBS News. “When you’re up that high, it’s scary.”
Still, he managed to climb down to the woman and hold her securely against the glass of the window to keep her from falling as he placed one arm inside the window to hold onto a wall, and the other around her waist to keep her in place.
“Eventually, smoke started lifting when the guys downstairs started breaking windows and it started clearing out,” he said in the Facebook post. “I was right behind her, so if she did decide to jump or let go, I was holding her to the glass. I just said, ‘I’m not going to let you fall. We’re going to get you inside.’”
Crews eventually extinguished the flames, and the woman was able to re-enter her apartment without having to be lowered to the ground, the post said. According to WABC, she was later treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital.
“I was ecstatic. It was an emotional feeling. There was an adrenaline rush,” Quinn told CBS News.
For those watching, Quinn’s heroics looked like something out of a movie.
“He was like Spider-Man, Superman, coming out that window, encasing her body to make her feel safe,” neighbor Kyra Walker told WCBS.
Nigro told WABC that roof-rope rescues like that are rare, and the FDNY has not completed one since 2016. Quinn did, however, say that he and his team had been practicing the drill just two hours before Tuesday’s events.
“It’s a happy day for her, and it’s a happy day for all of us,” Nigro said.