NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn firefighter helped pull his neighbors to safety after a fire engulfed two houses in Dyker Heights.
The off-duty FDNY member lost his home in the process.
Video shows the dramatic moment firefighter Piotr Orlowski carried his 92-year-old next door neighbor out of a burning house on 74th Street.
“I woke him up. I told him ‘I have to get you out.’ He didn’t want to go, he was very flustered. He said he was going to walk, but there was no time,” Orlowski said.
Orlowski was off-duty midnight Saturday. He smelled smoke, and noticed fire that appeared to start in the back yard next door now spreading to his.
“I ran back to my own house. I told my parents there’s no time… We’re going out now,” he said.
All 12 residents from two houses made it out OK, but it took more than 200 firefighters hours to get the flames under control. A dozen firefighters suffered minor injuries.
“It sucks. It’s just things. No one died,” said Robert Chilelli.
Chilelli, a Marine awarded a purple heart, just moved in two weeks ago. He lost everything. So did Donato Dellarosa. Neither have insurance.
“We didn’t even grab anything. Friend gave me these shoes, ’cause I was barefoot. Red Cross give me a shirt,” Dellarosa said.
Investigators and the Department of Buildings have been on the scene all day Monday assessing the damage. Authorities say the buildings are at risk of collapsing.
Orlowski said while he never expected to work where he lives, it’s proof that a fire can happen anywhere.
“I’m just happy everybody got out safe, that my parents are alive,” he said.
And his dog, too.
The fire marshall says it’s not considered suspicious, but the cause is not known yet.
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