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Good Samaritan Rescues Kids in Flatbush Fire

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | April 7, 2015 11:51am 

 Clancy Winchester, inset, helped retrieve two kids as a Martense Avenue home burned.
Clancy Winchester, inset, helped retrieve two kids as a Martense Avenue home burned.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

BROOKLYN — A good Samaritan raced through a burning building to find two kids and bring them to safety, he said.

The flames started within the two units of 70 Martense Ave., near Bedford Avenue and engulfed the two-story building about 11:22 a.m., an FDNY spokesman said.

Clancy Winchester, 32, an off-duty plumber, was driving and looking for a parking spot on the block when the fire began.

"I saw the girl come out on the steps yelling, 'Fire! Fire!' with two kids in her hand," Winchester said.

He asked if anyone else was inside and she said there was, he said.

"I used a stick to break the two windows on the first floor. I took two rocks and broke the windows on the second floor," Winchester said.

He kicked in one of the home's doors and raced around inside, flinging doors open to see if anyone was there, he said.

"I saw and heard screaming," Winchester said.

They were trapped in a room of the house so he grabbed them and left through a back entrance and took an outdoor walkway to get back to the street, he said.

"I held the two little kids' hands and walked them to the front," he said.

"I just did it. I just felt like I had to do it. I'm just happy I was there," Winchester said.

The kids were free by the time the FDNY arrived on scene, officials said.

"We had heavy fire on arrival, fire out the windows, heavy smoke pumping out," said FDNY Battalion Chief Mike Golini.

"The fire met us right at the door, so to get in and make our searches, we had to push with the hose line to get in quick," he added.

Firefighters were particularly aggressive in tackling the fire because they got reports of the trapped kids, a fire chief said.

"Our guys made an aggressive push inside to make sure everybody was out and thankfully, everybody was out of the building," Golini said.

They did have to rescue the family dog though, Golini said.

"[The dog] seems to be doing okay as far as I know. That will at least be some saving grace for the family after a travesty, a tragedy like this," Golini said.

About 106 firefighters brought the blaze under control by 12:05 p.m., officials said.

No injuries were reported.

Fire marshals were still trying to figure out what sparked the blaze.