Quick-Thinking Family Saves Themselves From UES Fire

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An UES family saved themselves from a devastating fire in their East 80th Street townhouse early yesterday morning, a block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The parents, both banking executives, managed to get all four of their children—George, 9, Joe, 8, Teddy, 6 and Lulu, 4—to the roof of their duplex, leaping onto the roof of a neighboring building to escape the flames. "This was the scariest thing in my entire life. It was terrifying. The place was going down, and we knew it," said Sally Bednar, a chief operating officer at Morgan Stanley, who woke her husband after smelling the smoke.

The fire broke out in an empty apartment on the second floor and the FDNY doesn't believe it's suspicious. Firefighters managed to control the blaze by 4:58 a.m., and six firefighters were treated for minor injuries, but none were seriously hurt. [Good video] The family said they lost everything they owned in the blaze, "but we are lucky," said JP Morgan exec David Bednar. Officials applaud Bednar for saving his family by remembering one crucial safety step: After ushering his family out, he closed the door behind him. Had he not, the fire would have spread more quickly, potentially making their escape impossible.

The FDNY hopes this happy ending "reminds everyone of the importance of this simple fire safety step." So if your apartment is enveloped in flames and you are still composed enough to sustain logical thought processes, close that door.

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