Manhattan Firemen Make Dramatic Rescues
Mrs. Saungs Wong, 38, and her children, William, 5, and Niajan, 4, will not soon forget last February 6th, their Chinese New Year, and the New York Fire Department, particularly the members of Ladder 6 and 1.
The story is quickly told. Mrs. Wong and her offspring were visiting the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Foo, 33-37 Mott street, in New York’s famed Chinatown, to witness the dragon parade, highlight of the Chinese anniversary, passing by a short distance from the apartment. Mrs. Foo and her children were watching from fire escape outside a bedroom window, trying to pick out Mr. Foo, who was one of the paraders. Mrs. Wong and her brood were watching from the living room window of the apartment, when fire broke out in that room about 1:20 P.M.
It is not related what caused the blaze which filled the apartment with choking smoke and resulted in street fire alarm box 154 at Mott and Pell streets being snapped at 1:22 P.M.
Fire alarms from that neighborhood bring a normally heavy response, and in a matter of moments members of Engines 9, 12, 31 and 55 and ladders 6 and 1, with chiefs of the 1st and 4th battalions and the head of the first division, were competing with the parade for interest.
As the smoke rolled out, the Foos made their way down the fire escape from the 5th floor apartment, but Mrs. Wong and her children found their way cut off and climbed on the window ledge which was protected by a grill to prevent an accidental fall. Here they huddled, at times lost to excited spectators below, in the smoke. In the midst of it all, however, Mrs. Wong kept her head and awaited the blue-shirted rescuers, whose names are legion in that thickly populated area.
In no time at all, two aerial ladders were against the building, converged on the tiny balcony, and the crews were picking off the near-victims.
The sequences of this rescue are graphically told in the three accompanying photographs, made by a newspaper photographer who was on hand to “shoot” the parade. Figure 1 shows Mrs. Wong attempting to comfort her terror stricken children as laddermen hurry up the extended aerial toward them.
Figure 2 shows the second aerial up, with one of the crew perched on its very tip, leg through the rungs, taking one of the youngsters from Mrs. Wong, while members of the other Company prepare to lend their helping hands.
The final shot (Figure 3) shows the officers lifting Mrs. Wong over the railing as (right and left) crew members carry down youngsters, no longer fearful. Other tenants of the apartment may be seen on the top landing debating whether or not to risk the descent past the smoke-filled window.