New York City NY July 4 2017 A security officer came to the rescue of a boy and an elderly woman who were trapped by a fire that tore through a Bronx building Monday.
Alex Pineiro was walking to his job as a security guard by E. 163 St. when he noticed the flames and people screaming from an apartment building shortly before noon.
"I saw the fire. It was bad," Pineiro told the Daily News. "I knew I had to go in."
With only his uniform to shield his body from the heat, Pineiro went in through the front door, climbed to the second floor, and went into action.
"I grabbed the kid first," Pineiro recalled. "The kid was probably about four years old. He was OK. He was breathing. He just didn't know where he was. He was confused. I took him to the ambulance."
Moments later, Pineiro saw an elderly woman, and came to her aid.
"She was severely burned on her arm," Pineiro said. "I grabbed her as well. She fainted on me, and I carried her from there to the ambulance. I grabbed her and put her on my shoulder and I ran downstairs."
Witness Chilly Reyes, 28, saw two children trying to escape the flames from the third floor.
"There were two boys about 10 years old," Reyes said. "They were screaming and asking for help. We started telling them, `Come down the fire escape. Use the stairs.' They were scared, but the flames were getting to be too much. We just kept yelling, `Come down the stairs.' The flames were getting to them. They looked scared. But they did. They got down."
The building's handyman said he was working on the second floor when he saw orange flames and started getting people out.
"I got an extinguisher," the man said. "I tried to put it out. But it wouldn't go out. The flames now are shooting from the second floor to third floor," he said. "It just kept going. I said, we have to get the f--k out of here."
"Then this guy came in," the handyman said, describing Pineiro. "He's a hero. He rescued a kid and an old lady out. I saw him running down the stairs with the kid, then the lady. He's the man."
Fire officials said 106 firefighters responded to the blaze, and got it under control at 12:45 p.m.
Nine people including two firefighters and a police officer were taken to Jacobi and Lincoln hospitals in stable condition.
The cause is under investigation.
NY Daily News