NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three children were hurt, one critically, in a fire Tuesday morning at an apartment building in Brooklyn.
The blaze broke out just after 11 a.m. at an eight-story public housing building on Loring Avenue in East New York. Video from the scene shows a broken and charred window on the side of the building.
As CBS 2’s Matt Kozar reported, one of the challenges firefighters faced with the blaze was the thick canopy of trees blocking their path to the fourth floor. So they smashed right through, taking out several large branches.
Firefighters rescued two of the children, a brother and a sister ages 5 and 8, who were found at the window of a fourth-floor apartment calling for help, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
A third child was trapped in a back bedroom, and was found by a rookie firefighter.
“It’s hard to explain the experience, because you’re in the moment,” said firefighter Justin Tallett, 27. “All I knew is I had to get him out of the apartment.”
Tallett wore the rescue of the 3-year-old boy on his face, which was darkened from black smoke. He found the child under a bed.
Tallett is a probationary firefighter, and has only been on the job for two months. He said he could not focus on anxiety.
“At the time, you’re just focused on what you need to do, so I don’t really think about, you know, my heart racing,” he said.
Firefighter Frank Blackstone pulled the other two children through an apartment window.
He said they managed to get the bucket into position and pry off the window bars.
“It was a little tight, but we got it through,” said Blackstone. “We were able to pull them out and bring them down to the street, where I passed them off to the Police Department, who swiftly took them to EMS.”
“The children were very calm, crying,” Blackstone told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “And when I got up to the children, I asked them if there was any more in the building, and the older child had told me yes, his brother, sister and grandfather were still in the building.”
Resident Omar White watched it all unfold from across the courtyard. He described what the children looked like as they were rescued.
“One of them – the one they (brought) through the window, he was all right,” White said. “The one that came out of the building, he was more like unconscious.”
Paramedics resuscitated the 3-year-old in an ambulance on his way to the hospital.
Neighbors said the three children live in the apartment with their grandfather, who was in the lobby when firefighters responded.
Their mother was not at home at the time.
It was not clear what caused the fire, which investigators said started in the living room.
The three children were being treated by doctors at Brookdale University Hospital Tuesday afternoon. The 3-year-old boy was in critical condition, while the other two were reported in “stable” condition.
The children’s grandfather, who was home at the time when the fire broke out, was also hurt. A neighbor was also taken to the hospital.
All were expected to recover.
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