Making their way through thick black smoke that poured from a Lindenwood apartment building last Friday, Brooklyn firefighters faced almost no visibility as they searched for — and rescued — a woman who was having a heart attack as the blaze swept through the unit’s fourth floor.
The firefighters from Engine 225 and Ladder 107 pulled Marie Loughlin, 64, to safety, and she was transported to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. A center spokeswoman said because Loughlin had burns covering more than 50 percent of her body, she was brought to the hyperbaric chamber at New York Hospital Cornell. She remains in critical condition.
“It feels great; this is why we do the job,” James Goelz, a firefighter from Ladder 107, said of the rescue. “It’s what this job is all about.”
About 60 firefighters battled the flames that broke out because of “careless smoking” on the fourth floor of a six-floor apartment building on 88th Street around 7:30 a.m., the FDNY said.
When the firefighters arrived at the scene, they discovered a large crowd congregated in front of the building. Rushing to the third floor to determine the building’s layout, the firefighters then climbed to the fourth floor, where they said they encountered incredibly intense heat and black smoke that forced them to use a thermal imaging camera to guide them.
Discovering Loughlin’s door was left ajar, Goelz said he managed to find the woman when he felt her foot. He and firefighter John Bunning, who had celebrated his 43rd birthday the day before, then carried her to the door of the apartment.
Another firefighter met them at the top of the stairs and helped to bring her outside.
After ensuring Loughlin’s safety, Goelz returned to the apartment to search for other victims.
Officials said four others from the apartment building were treated for smoke inhalation, but they were not as seriously injured as Loughlin.
The FDNY said the fire began because of improperly discarded cigarettes in the building —which is something that a Bayside resident is fighting to keep from happening throughout the city.
Phil Konigsberg is asking the City Council and the mayor’s office to ban smoking in multi-family residences, condos and co-ops.