Good Timing Leads To Brave Rescue
A grease fire broke out in the kitchen of a sixth floor apartment in Hammel Houses last Friday evening, leaving a family that included an 8-year-old boy and 19-month baby boy trapped inside when the apartment doorknob jammed, preventing them from escaping the flames and heavy smoke, police said.
“Help! There’s children inside,” Yaquis Moss, 21, screamed outside the window to a police officer below.
Luckily, that police officer was there because he and other 100 Precinct officers and members of the Emergency Services Unit, were executing a search warrant at the neighboring 84-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard when they heard the cries for help and immediately responded.
Sergeant John Patterson saw the smoke coming from the window as the victim called down to him for help. The Fire Department was called to respond and Sergeant Bradley Beamer, Sergeant John Patterson, Sergeant Stanley Xenakis, Police Officer David Teta and Police Officer Keith Richardson proceeded to the apartment while awaiting FDNY response.
Once on the sixth floor, officers were given the keys to the apartment. However, the cylinder was broken and the lock would not open from the inside or the outside of the door. They then attempted to break the door in, to no avail. The officers then requested the Emergency Services officers, who were conducting the search warrant, to re-spond. Once on scene, the Emergency Services officers broke down the door and were able to remove the victims to safety.
According to police a hydraulic drill was used to get the door open.
“We got on our hands and knees. We did everything by feel, there was no visibility,” Detective Hamdy told the New York Post. “We took in a lot of smoke. We had to search the rooms. There was quite a bit of panic. It was very heavy smoke.”
“We had to get out real quickly,” he added. “The mother was carrying the baby.”
All five victims including the officers were treated for smoke inhalation.