Firefighters rescue 61-year old woman from fire; can’t save cat

BAYONNE AND BEYOND – Firefighters plucked a 61-year-old woman from a fire in senior housing building at 535 Avenue A in Bayonne at about 11:38 p.m. on April 17 — but they couldn’t save the woman’s cat.
With smoke alarms going off, firefighters responded to the sixth floor of the 11-story building and encountered heavy smoke in the hall and smoke pushing out from one of the apartments, where – after they forced their way in – they found a sofa burning and the fire extending up the wall. The 61-year-old woman was unconscious on the floor.
Captain Robert Bartos, aided by Captain John Leahy and firefighters Craig Sisk and Dave Korzun, dragged the victim to safety.
The unconscious victim was barely breathing when rescued, and firefighters provided respiratory assistance in the elevator during their descent to the lobby. The victim was passed over to EMS and transported to Bayonne Medical Center, where she reportedly regained consciousness.
Firefighters extinguished the fire using hoses advanced from a standpipe system. When the smoke cleared, a large cat was discovered to have perished, likely from heat and smoke inhalation. The apartment suffered fire, smoke, and water damage.
The fire investigator determined that the fire originated in the sofa, the result of careless smoking. The victim reportedly stated that she dropped a lit cigarette before the fire occurred. Several cigarettes and a lighter were found near the sofa.
“The firemen did a great job saving this woman’s life, and I commend them,” said Fire Chief Greg Rogers. “Dealing with a fire in high-rise building is both physically and tactically challenging, and it’s apparent that their efforts paid off.”

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