Off-Duty Bravest Rescues Boy, Dog from Home Engulfed in Flames
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
August 23, 2010
QUEENS, NY – Queens firefighter Robert Moore is only on the job two years, and he has already made a lifesaving rescue.
And he did it alone, while off duty.
Moore, 26, grabbed a 15-year-old boy and the teen’s Lhasa apso dog from their smoke-engulfed home, getting them out a second-floor window as he perched on the top of a ladder.
He then used his paramedic skills to treat the boy’s burns and smoke inhalation until an ambulance arrived.
For his going above and beyond the call of duty to make the bold rescue, Moore is the Daily News Hero of the Month.
The teen’s grateful mother, Marie Nacpil, agreed Moore is a hero.
“He was the one who came up the ladder and pulled out my son and the dog,” she said.
Moore works at Ladder 167 in Flushing, near the Bayside neighborhood where he was born and raised.
On Monday morning, Aug. 9, he was off duty, and worked out at Bell Plaza Sports Club, his local gym. He stopped at the front desk to order a sandwich from a nearby shop, and a gym employee told him there was a fire down the block on 45th Drive.
“I thought it might be a rubbish fire,” Moore said.
“I ran down the block and fire was coming out the front door, the whole first floor, and the second floor of a two-story home.”
A bystander told him someone was still inside.
“I ran through the driveway to the rear, and I could see there was a 15-year-old kid in a second-story window with a puppy, screaming for help.
“He was covered in soot. There was heavy black smoke over his head. I thought, ‘I gotta do something to get him out because he’s not gonna make it.’”
There was a ladder outside the house; it was about 12 feet long and it came up about 3 feet short of the window.
“But there was no other way to get him out,” Moore said.
So he climbed to the top rung and held onto the aluminium siding with his right hand and gripped the windowsill with his left hand.
The teen, Roy Nacpil, was “leaning out the window frantic,” said Moore. "I saw heavy smoke.
“I said, ‘listen to exactly what I say or we’ll both fall,’” Moore recalled.
Vito Barone, owner of the sandwich shop, That’s a Wrap, where Moore had ordered his lunch, and Mark Ochetal from the gym had arrived and held the bottom of the ladder.
Moore passed the dog, named Oreo, to Barone.
“I felt if I tried to go down with it I would have lost balance,” he said.
He told Roy to turn around, put one leg out and lower himself onto Moore’s shoulders.
“I leaned to the right … there was an awning above the rear door, and I figured if I fell it would break my fall.
“Luckily I didn’t fall. I took two steps down and repositioned [the teen] between me and the house. We climbed down together.”
Moore brought the boy across the street. By then, Ladder 167 and Engine 306 firefighters showed up and began fighting the fire.
Moore took the medical equipment off the trucks and began treating Roy. He had second-degree burns on his left arm, and had inhaled smoke. Moore gave him oxygen.
An ambulance took him to the hospital.
The teen’s father, Dante Nacpil, suffered burns and smoke inhalation, and his brother, Christian, 17, also had smoke inhalation.
Oreo was fine.
Fire marshals determined that the fire was caused by an extension cord used for an air conditioner.
After helping his company at the fire scene, Moore picked up his sandwich and headed home.
“I was in shock, and then later it hit me,” he said, shaking his head.
Moore was an FDNY paramedic in Elmhurst before he became a firefighter in 2008.
“I always wanted to be a firefighter,” he said. He is engaged to Paula Apraez, a paramedic.
The Nacpil family is living in a hotel, and Oreo is staying at a friend’s home, as repairs are being done on their house.
Marie Nacpil said her son “is healing well. He wants to thank the firefighter.”
Moore said he was “really relieved … my only real concern were the burns he had. … I knew he’d survive.”