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FF Braves Flames To Rescue Elderly Couple

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

July 08, 2011

NEW YORK – Firefighters rushed through a wall of flames to rescue an elderly couple Thursday after an early morning blaze ripped through their Brooklyn apartment, authorities said.

The blaze started just after 5 a.m. in a fifth-floor apartment at 111 E. 21st St. in Flatbush belonging to Manuel and Maria Gonzalez.

When a firefighter scaling a ladder spotted the unconscious couple through their bedroom window, he radioed to colleagues who busted down the door and raced to pull the couple to safety.


An injured firefighter gets treatment at the scene of the blaze.

Manuel, 71, suffered burns, and his wife Maria, 66, inhaled “a great deal of smoke,” EMS said in a statement.

She went into cardiac arrest and had to be revived by paramedics. She was first taken to Kings County Hospital but was later moved to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx for treatment in the hospital’s hyperbaric chamber.

Manuel, 71, was initially taken to SUNY Downstate Hospital but was also moved to Jacobi.

“Both are improving and are expected to live,” the statement read.

Distraught relatives said the couple had lived in the apartment for 10 years.

“They’re loving parents. They are good parents,” said their 44-year-old daughter, Marisol Gonzalez. “I’m just grateful that the firefighters got there and got them out.”

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known, but officials said it appeared to have begun in the apartment’s living room.

There was also no evidence that the apartment was equipped with a working smoke detector, officials said.