Daring smoke and heat, firefighters from two Bayonne fire units rescued an unconscious 77-year-old man from a Prospect Avenue fire after a civilian told the firefighters someone might be trapped in the building.
Eight fire vehicles and 30 firefighters responded to the two alarm blaze at 260 Prospect Ave. on March 25 at 10:42 a.m.
Fire Chief Greg Rogers said firefighters performed a quick rescue and found the man unconscious on the second floor of the burning building.
“The first arriving units were confronted with flames blowing out the windows on the second floor,” Rogers said. “A neighbor ran up to a fireman and started shouting that a 77-year-old man was up there.”
Firefighters from a rescue company and engine company forced their way into the apartment in the face of heavy smoke and high heat. They found the elderly male on the floor near the door.
“He was barely breathing,” Rogers said.
Initial reports indicated that firefighters Fred Blake and Jim Collins pulled the victim from the apartment and carried him down to the street, where other firefighters assisted in getting him to the front of the building.
Firefighters gave the man to Emergency Medical Technicians from McCabe Ambulance, who worked to help his breathing as they transported him to Bayonne Medical Center. He was later sent to St. Barnabas Burn Center in Livingston.
Rogers said Capt. Pawlowski, one of the fire captains leading the rescue effort, suffered second degree burns to the lower part of his neck and was transported to St. Barnabas as well.
“The front of the building is scarred from the flames and smoke exiting the building,” Rogers said. “The second floor front apartment where the fire originated was badly damaged from flames, smoke, and water. The other apartments suffered varying degrees of smoke and water damage.”
“This was a classic, blitz style rescue made by the firemen.” – Greg Rogers
All residents there are displaced, Rogers said, because the building is considered untenable due to the smoke and water damage.
“The initial investigation indicates that the fire started in a bedroom of the second floor front apartment,” Rogers said, noting that the investigation is still being done.
“This was a classic, blitz style rescue made by the firemen,” he said. “The instant they received the report of a trapped tenant, they focused their effort on the rescue and very quickly discovered and pulled the victim from the fire. These men did a spectacular job, and I commend all the emergency workers at the scene for the efforts made to save the victim.”