The FDNY was able to rescue a woman desperately clinging to the side of a burning building in Harlem on Tuesday by using a rare “roof-rope” maneuver.
Officials say the fire broke out on the 16th floor of a building at 470 Lenox Avenue near West 134th Street, around 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday. With the woman hanging on the edge of the window, they decided to do a roof-rope rescue from the 17th floor. You can see video of the rescue below.
"There was a woman on the window sill outside of her window, and I stayed at the window and tried to calm her down, and told her not to jump, that we were going to come and get her," FDNY firefighter Brian Quinn said during a press conference yesterday.
"My Lt., Jason Norwich, was inside trying to coax her in, but she was completely panicked and she was not going to let go," he continued. "Eventually, smoke started lifting when the guys downstairs started breaking windows and it started clearing out. I was right behind her, so if she did decide to jump or let go I was holding her to the glass. I just said, ‘I’m not going to let you fall. We’re going to get you inside.’"
He added that two hours before the incident, they had been practicing that exact drill. "We train all the time," he said. "That’s our job."
"This is really a heroic rescue and it really shows the talent and the bravery of the members of the FDNY," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. "It’s something that’s rarely done, and yet they exercised their skills quickly, they assessed the situation quickly, and they did what had to be done bravely. Thanks to their bravery, thanks to their efforts, and thanks to their ingenuity in being able to tie this rope off, we have someone who was saved here on Lenox Avenue. It’s a happy day for her, and it’s a happy day for all of us."
The woman, whose name hasn't been publicly released, was brought to a local hospital for smoke inhalation, but is expected to recover.
Below, you can see FDNY member Mark Heingartner explain how a roof-rope rescue works: