Girl, 3, Burned in Brooklyn Blaze

NY Times - December 28, 2007

by ANDY NEWMAN

Firefighters crawled beneath flames to pull a critically burned 3-year-old girl from a house fire in Brooklyn on Thursday night, the Fire Department said.

The girl, whose name was not released, sustained serious burns over 70 percent of her body and was taken to the burn center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, said Firefighter Tim Heaton, a department spokesman.

Firefighter Heaton said members of Ladder Company 111 entered the house, a brownstone at 354 Stuyvesant Avenue, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and heard the girl's cries coming from the rear of the parlor floor, behind where the fire was concentrated. The fire was in a side bedroom that had no door, and the flames were shooting out into the hallway. The girl was in a bedroom in the back.

"The fire was between them and the girl," Firefighter Heaton said. "Normally they would pull the door to the fire room closed, but there was no door to pull closed, so they had to crawl underneath the flames."

Lt. Mark Gregory and Firefighter John Norman reached the rear of the house. Firefighter Norman stayed near the fire, keeping it at bay with an extinguisher, while Lieutenant Gregory rescued the girl.

"The girl was conscious, she was crying, but she was severely burned," Firefighter Heaton said.

As Firefighter Norman trained the fire extinguisher on the flames, Lieutenant Gregory shielded the girl with his body and crawled past the flames again.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, Firefighter Heaton said. It was not clear who else was in the house at the time. The fire was called in around 7:30 p.m. and was under control within a half-hour, Firefighter Heaton said.