STATEN ISLAND, NY (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg is thanking firefighters who saved dozens of stranded residents on Staten Island.

The water rose quickly in the Bull’s Head section of Staten Island as Tropical Storm Irene slammed the city Sunday.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports 

Many residents began to panic as the flood waters reached their home, their cars beginning to float on the street and in driveways.

SEE: User-Submitted Pictures Of Irene’s Wrath | Irene’s Aftermath From Chopper 880

That’s when FDNY sprung into action, paddling out to homes in Zodiac boats that were flooded by more than five feet of water.

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Kevin Holligan of the Staten Island kayaks across a flooded section of the borough's Hyland Boulevard after the rain and wind of Tropical Storm Irene subsided, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 (AP Photo/The Staten Island Advance, Anthony DePrimo)

“There were some people who were panicking and we were trying to calm them down, that’s what all the guys were trying to do, just calm them down,” said firefighter Anthony Mua of Engine 154. “But we were trying to take anyone who was injured, elderly. There was a person who was diabetic, she didn’t have her medication so she needed to get out. There was a woman with two, 3-month old children.”

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

Mua says people cooperated and left with only the bare essentials.

In addition to 61 adults and three kids, firefighters also rescued two dogs, a cat and one rabbit.

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