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Thanksgiving Day Fire Heroes Recognized

Councilman Brad Lander awarded citations to six FDNY companies who responded to the inferno that broke out in an apartment on President Street on Thanksgiving Day.

Three fire engines and two ladder companies arrived on the scene of in two minutes and 27 seconds.

Thanks to the FDNY’s rapid response time to the inferno in the apartment between Fourth and Fifth avenues, five lives were saved, including an eight-month-old baby boy who was brought back to life by fireman Neil Malone who administered CPR on the scene.

Last Friday, Councilman Brad Lander awarded citations to six FDNY companies who responded to the Thanksgiving Day blaze at Engine 220 and Engine 219's firehouses with Squad 1, Rescue 2, Ladder 105 and Ladder 122. 

“It is absolutely certain that without the courageous response of the FDNY, the family would not have survived Thanksgiving 2011,” Councilman Lander said to firemen in Engine Company 220 and Ladder Company 122’s house on 11th Street. “It was a Thanksgiving Day miracle, but it is unbelievably the everyday job that you guys do.”

On that fateful Thursday, November 24, at around 12:17 p.m. a cigarette ignited a mattress and trapped two men, two women and an infant in their apartment.

Squad 1 and Engine 239 staffed the first hose line to extinguish the flames while and Rescue 2, Engine 220, Ladder 122, Ladder 105, Engine 226, Engine 219 all helped in the response, rescue, resuscitation of the baby and an adult male who were under cardiac arrest and extinguished the flames all in an hour.

The FDNY’s Brooklyn Borough Commander, Chief James Leonard, was proud of his firemen for the successful coordinated effort.

“Seconds count in our business,” Chief Leonard said in Engine Company 220’s firehouse. “People don’t realize how important response time is and . It’s a good thing it didn’t because we need to get to the scene quickly.”

Last June, Engine Company 220 was on a list of 20 firehouses that were slated to close, and Councilman Brad Lander, the house stayed open.

“Lander has always been a big supporter of the FDNY,” Leonard said, as he turned to address the Councilman on Friday. “You gave us the resources to stay open and this is what we can do for you: You get the finest fire protection money can buy in your district.”

According to New York Presbyterian Cornell Weill Medical Center, as of Wednesday the baby, Josiah Alexis, is in fair condition. He was in critical condition until this past weekend.

His mother, Jasmine Alexis, is still being treated at King's County Hospital and her twin sister, Justine had been released. Their brother, Jonathan, is still in the hospital but is in good condition and the other victim is still in serious condition. 

Firefighter Matthew Hanley, from Ladder 122, rescued the man who escaped the flames by climbing out of the window and on to a glass awning of the building next door, where he screamed for help while bleeding.

“I grabbed a 24-footer [a ladder] and got him,” Hanley said, who has been a fireman for 13 years. “Without the coordination of all our guys it wouldn’t have been possible. There is no iron fireman.”

Another brave firefighter, David Newberry from Rescue 2, saved the baby from the flames and then passed him to Neil Malone who brought him back to life with CPR.

“Everyone did a good job working the fire,” Newberry said with a humble tone. “The entire Fire Department contributed to the rescue.”

Richard Myers, also from Rescue 2, saved a woman and a man.

“The inside was charred and there was heavy smoke. I put my mask on, cleared the window and hopped in,” Myers said. “I found the man on the floor by the bed and got him out of there.”

The citations Lander awarded the fire companies were for “Demonstrat[ing] bravery and valor in responding and extinguishing the fire, aided in the heroic rescue of five victims from the burning building,” the citations read. “Therefore be it known that the Park Slope community is thankful for the courage and dedication shown…in protecting our neighbors from harm and saving their lives.”

Councilman Lander said that New Yorkers are grateful for the FDNY’s everyday courage, but Slopers were especially grateful on Thanksgiving Day when “the thin line between life and death was right before our eyes,” Lander said.

Chief Leonard and all the firemen were honored that Lander took time to award them concerning the President Street fire.

“Thank you for the accolades,” Chief Leonard said. “But this is what we do everyday.”

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