Off-duty FDNY FF rescues neighbor, loses home in blaze that injured 12 FFs

FDNY Firefighter Piotr Orlowski carried his neighbor from a burning building and evacuated his parents during the five-alarm blaze

By Laura French

NEW YORK — An off-duty FDNY firefighter rescued his neighbor and lost his home during the five-alarm blaze that injured 12 firefighters over the weekend. 

FDNY Firefighter Piotr Orlowski said he smelled smoke shortly before midnight on Saturday and told his parents to get ready to evacuate, then went outside and saw all but one of his neighbors outside, according to a Facebook post by the department. 

"I noticed everyone was outside except for the gentleman I always say 'hi' to. I wasn't thinking, I guess it was just my training, I just went in there and I found him all the way in the rear," Orlowski said in a statement. "I told him that I have to get you out, that we have to go. He said he was going to walk but there was no time. The door was getting charred and I could see flames going. So I made the decision to pick him up and I took him outside." 

After carrying his neighbor to safety, Orlowski evacuated his parents and dog before the fire spread and destroyed his home. 

"There was nothing we could do. We lost everything," Orlowski stated. 

Twelve on-duty FDNY firefighters sustained minor injuries battling the blaze in Brooklyn, which was brought under control at about 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning. Twelve people, including Orlowski and his parents, were displaced. 

"He went in to search the fire apartment without the protection of a charged hose line," said FDNY Chief Kevin Woods, Staten Island Borough Commander, in a statement. "He used his training, he used his skills, and he used his abilities, and he was able to search that entire apartment as it was filling with smoke and filling with fire ... Due to his training, his skills, and abilities, Firefighter Orlowski saved a life." 


"It was just before midnight and I smelled the smoke. We saw embers in the rear so we closed the windows, and I told my...

Posted by New York City Fire Department (FDNY) on Monday, September 14, 2020


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