-- Firefighters performed a dramatic rescue dozens of feet above the ground, pulling a man from the window of a burning building in New York City's Upper East Side.
The New York Fire Department responded to the six-alarm blaze the started around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, reports WABC, a local affiliate. The fire quickly ripped through all five floors of an apartment building and burst through the roof, killing one person and leaving another in critical condition. Two other people and two firefighters reported minor injuries.
Witnesses saw a heroic rescue as a firefighter was lowered down by rope from the burning building's roof to rescue a man hanging out of a 5th floor window.
“You couldn’t see anything over the edge, there was so much smoke and flames going out the window,” Jim Lee, of the FDNY's Rescue 1 unit, later told WABC.
Lee pulled the man from the window and held on as they were both lowered safely to the ground.
“I told him to stay calm and when we got down, I said, 'hope you enjoyed the ride.' he sort of smiled and he was thankful,” Lee said.
The man suffered serious burns and was rushed to New York Presbyterian Hospital – Cornell in critical condition, WABC reported.
“The chief told me he was in critical condition, but he was able to talk to me,” Lee said of the rescued man.
After they got to the ground, the rope they had been hanging from broke, the result of flames shooting out the building's windows.
“This is the type of rescue that is really extraordinary,” FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard told WABC.
“He really put his life at risk. It doesn’t happen that often in this department, maybe once every couple years, that we have a member who puts his life in this position and save a life because of their teamwork, their training and their bravery.”