NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Bronx man who was sleeping in his bedroom when a raging fire broke out in his five-story apartment building said he owes his life to the brave firefighters who rescued him.
The fire broke out around 7:30 a.m. Friday at a building on East 146th Street.
Firefighters worked quickly to help residents escape the blaze.
“The Fire Department had to break down the window and get them out of the apartment,” said neighbor Raymond Cloud, who said he watched several rescues unfold as he ran to safety.
Resident Fernando Rivera told CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian that he was fast asleep as flames rose toward his apartment.
“They were knocking on the door real hard,” Rivera said. “If they didn’t wake me up we would’ve probably died because when we woke up the apartment was full of smoke. It was absolutely dark, it was so dark in the hallway that I couldn’t go down, the firefighters had to grab me by my hand.”
Residents said firefighters led people up to the roof, guiding them over a wall to an adjacent building to safety.
“The Fire Department had to break down the window and get them out of the apartment,” Cloud said.
Fire officials said at least three people and one firefighter suffered minor injuries.
Family members told CBS 2 that the fire was sparked by a burning candle. Residents spent the afternoon sweeping up puddles and tip-toeing around shards of glass in the apartment where the fire started.
The Red Cross was on the scene, but Rivera said that his losses amounted to near devastation.
“I don’t know where I’m gonna live, if I’m gonna be on the street,” he said.
In spite of the fire Rivera said he was grateful for the firefighters who came to his rescue and that his two dogs made it out alive.
“I’m so very grateful that everybody came out alive,” he said.
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