SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island mother and her two small children were hospitalized Wednesday, after a pre-dawn fire in Smithtown.
The father — a volunteer fireman himself — was not at home at the time.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, they were saved by someone who was already a hero to them.
Heavy smoke filled the bedrooms of the Sterling Lane home as volunteer firefighters rushed in searching for a trapped mother and two children.
Neighbors watched helplessly.
“Is this real, is this happening? It was just horrifying,” Kathleen Torres said.
Inside rescuers found the mother and children unresponsive, and pulled out Kristen Sidel, her 3-year-old daughter and 3-month-old son, resuscitating them on the front lawn.
For one Smithtown volunteer firefighter it was personal.
Jenn O’Brien had been at the home 3 months earlier for a rare on the job joy — delivering Sidel’s son. This time she was part of the search team that rescued him.
“Jenn is very emotional about this. She has an emotional attachment for the rest of her life with this family,” Jeff Bressler, Public Information Officer, Smithtown Fire Department said.
The house has been gutted. The mother was in critical condition, the children were stable after severe smoke inhalation.
Their father Tom Sidik — a volunteer fire captain himself — was unable to help, he was away on duty with the Coast Guard Reserves.
He rushed home to find his family saved by fellow fire fighters. His department said they are very grateful for actions taken by the Smithtown Fire Department, as are his neighbors.
“I was amazed. They did a marvelous, marvelous job,” Loretta Johnson said.
O’Brien is now wearing her other hat as a nurse at Stony Brook Hospital where the family is recovering.
Colleagues said what she did Wednesday, and 3 months ago underscore the service of volunteer fire fighters in good times and bad.
They attempted CPR on the family dogs, who sadly did not make it.
In a statement, the Sidik family asked for privacy while they focus their energy on helping the mother and children recover.