SSHS Student And Uncle Save Two From House Fire
By Neil S. Friedman
Two alert, concerned men, a South Shore High School student-athlete and his uncle, pulled four people from a burning house in the Greenpoint sec- tion of Brooklyn two weeks ago.
A Fire Department spokesperson said last week it took nearly 140 firefighters almost two hours to bring the three-alarm blaze in a three-story brick building at 69 Herbert Street under control.
While playing video games at his uncle’s home on Henry Street on January 22, Jonathan Maldonado, 17, and his uncle, Thomas Dowdle, 27, saw ashes flying through the air outside a window. Maldonado and his uncle put on their jackets and rushed outside when they saw the house down the corner in flames.
In a recent interview with the Canarsie Courier, Maldonado said they saw flames shooting out of the windows of the second-floor apartment and, without hesitating, ran inside the burning building.
Maldonado pulled an elderly woman from the burning house and took her to safety at his relatives’ house. He ran back to the fire and rescued a man then dashed back inside looking for his uncle who was exiting the now empty building. Dowdle had pulled two people from the fire plus a house cat.
The student said all the victims were taken to his aunt and uncle’s residence where they waited for medical assistance
The FDNY spokesperson said that three firefighters injured in the blaze were treated at the scene. Two civilians, one with burns and one with smoke inhalation, were taken to Woodhull Hospital for treatment.
South Shore principal Steven Berger, who watched a video from a television report of the incident with the student a few days after the fire, congratulated Maldonado, who is the starting shortstop for the school’s varsity boys’ baseball team.
Berger said last week, "When I learned of Jonathan’s effort, I was overwhelmed by the tremendous courage and heroism exhibited by the young man. The entire school is brimming with pride to have a real hero in our midst."