1010 WINS-It doesn’t happen often, but this woman was given a chance to thank the firefighter who saved her life 16 years ago.

New York City Fire Department (FDNY)

In 2002, Anissa Cruz and her family were trapped in their burning NYC apartment when firefighters came to rescue them. The fire killed her father, but thanks to now-retired Lt. Stephen McNally at FDNY Engine 75 and Ladder 33 Anissa is alive today.

16 years later Anissa got to thank her hero this week, and everyone involved was feeling slightly taken aback by it all.

“I remember everything in the room got very hot. I remember feeling suffocated. I was overwhelmed and terrified, Anissa says in a post on the FDNY’s Facebook page.

“That event stuck with me and since that day, I have gained so much perspective. When I made the plan to come back to New York to visit family this month, I knew I was going to visit the firehouse and tell my story.”

See Also: Firefighter Catches Little Girl Dropped From Balcony During Apartment Fire


New York City Fire Department (FDNY)

Lt. McNally said, “it was a difficult situation, seeing a child in that condition, but seeing her now and seeing all of her accomplishments is overwhelming.”

Anissa just graduated from the fire academy and plans to become a firefighter and follow in the footsteps of the man who saved her life.

You can read Anissa’s full story in the FDNY’s Facebook post below.


-Kayla Jardine/Joe Cingrana