Brooklyn Firefighters Go Beyond The Call Of Duty

7 Online - December 29, 2004

by Eyewitness News' Andy Field

(New York -WABC) — New York City firefighters and police rarely do each other's jobs, at least not officially - but they did last night. Fire fighters in Brooklyn - becoming cops - chasing down and helping catch some teenagers who allegedly robbed a cab driver.
Eyewitness News Reporter Andy Field has the story from a firehouse in Bedford Stuyvesant.
We call know that firemen are not armed, they don't wear bulletproof vests, yet the men here at Engine Company 235 risked their lives without any protection, chasing down robbers and then going to help the man those criminals robbed.

It happened at the corner of Bedford and Church in Brooklyn. Fire fighters on their way back from a major blaze saw a livery cab driver struggling with his passengers. Suddenly the doors flew open, the robbers fled with the driver of foot chasing after them. That's when Engine Company 235 members joined in the chase.

Douglas Gaynor, FDNY: "It's like a reaction, that's all. You do what you got to do."

Richie Colobello: "Twenty-three years ago I was an anti-crime plain clothes cop in lower Manhattan, and it felt real good to make another robbery collar. It felt real exciting - my blood was going, my heart was going."

But it was far more dangerous than a jog around the block. The robbers grabbed a knife and slashed the cab driver. One robber surrendered before police arrived, and these firemen risked injuries themselves.

Brian Clifford: "We just acted, and our instinct kicked in. We went after the guy, and tried to help the livery cab driver. It's unfortunate that the driver got slashed in the face. If they had a knife, they could have easily had another weapon."

The fourteen-year-old suspect that they caught goes to family court tomorrow on robbery charges. The other suspect is still on the street somewhere, but the good news is that the cab driver who was injured is out of the hospital and he appears to be okay.