Good Samaritan Helps Rescue Disabled Grandmother from Fire
FLATBUSH — A good Samaritan hoisted a disabled woman onto his shoulders and carried her from a burning apartment Tuesday, witnesses and the FDNY said.
Shaun White saw Aloma Malcolm's grandson struggling to get her down a fire escape from her fourth-floor home at 465 Ocean Ave. in Flatbush as thick black smoke billowed from windows behind her at 6:25 a.m.
"I ran over and started climbing up the fire escape," said White, 41, a building superintendent who works across the street.
"They were on the third floor. I saw he was struggling and I said, 'Gimme her.' I threw her around my left shoulder and brought her down to the landing. It happened so fast. The fire was blazing. It was chaos. All I was thinking was get them out."
Malcolm, 69, who uses a wheelchair, complained that her throat hurt and was taken to Maimonides Medical Center in serious but stable condition, relatives and fire officials said. Three other people received minor injuries but refused medical attention at the scene, a fire spokesman said.
The blaze scorched two fourth-floor apartments and another on the fifth floor before the 75 responding firefighters brought it under control about 7 a.m., according to the FDNY.
Its cause is still under investigation.
After the fire was extinguished, the apartments were covered with black soot and strewn with planks of wood and other debris.
But the inferno could've been much worse if Malcolm and her family hadn't been alerted so quickly, said Malcolm's daughter, Bridgette Bingham, 48.
"Someone knocked on the foor and said there's a fire. I got my kids and my mom and we started coming down the fire escape," Bingham said.
"I was yelling for help because my mom can't walk. She's in a wheelchair. The fire was above us. There was a lot of smoke. It was very scary."
White said the sight of the escaping family compelled him to act.
"I was across the street and saw smoke coming from the window. It was getting bigger and bigger, so I called 911. There was a lady yelling," he said.
"The rush of it carried me. This was my one moment as a firefighter."