An off-duty city Brooklyn firefighter sprang into action late Saturday to rescue his family and neighbors from a five-alarm blaze razed three Dyker Heights homes — but lost his own house in the process.
Firefighter Piotr Orlowski, assigned to Engine 202 in Red Hook, rushed into action when the fire broke out shortly before midnight at the family home on 74th Street, the FDNY union said on Twitter Sunday.
Orlowski, 33, a firefighter since 2016, had lived in the home with his Polish-immigrant parents and his sister for 20 years, according to a friend.
He even got the family dog, Crash, out safely before turning his attention to neighbors.
“He got them out of their own apartment and then he even helped next door,” said Patricia Ciurej, whose sister has dated Orlowski for 10 years. “He ran into the first floor back apartment where there’s a man. He’s like 90 years old. He literally carried him out himself, without gear or nothing.”
Neighbors said they saw the fire start from across the street and ran to alert the homeowners at 1330 74th St., breaking into the home when they didn’t answer the doorbell, they told The Post.
The family simply didn’t hear the doorbell but everyone was removed safely.
They then ran to Orlowski’s house and woke the firefighter’s family, neighbors said.
Both homes and a third neighboring house were all gutted by the flames.
Ciurej, 28, who is sponsoring a GoFundMe page for the family, said Orlowski is severely distraught but grateful everyone is safe.
“He does this for a living,” Ciurej said. “He’s been a firefighter for five years. It’s always tough seeing someone suffer through losing stuff.”
“But when you’re going into your own home and everything’s ablaze or everything is just destroyed you’re at a loss for words,” she said. “The couch that you sat on, the bed that you slept in. It may be materialistic, but those are the things that make a home.”
The fundraiser had collected more than $18,000 by 4 p.m. on Sunday, with a goal of $30,000.
The United Firefighters Association said six smoke eaters were injured while battling the fire. City Councilman Justin Brannan said on Twitter that windy conditions helped spread the flames.
New York Post
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