Investigators have concluded an unattended candle burning an eighth floor apartment caused yesterday morning’s fire at 388 Pearl. This morning the New York Post has home video showing the heroic rescue of a toddler by William Febow, his uncle. The fire, at the Alfred E. Smith Houses, sent five people to the hospital with minor injuries.
Febow jumped from a window onto a Fire Department ladder, and then waited for the boy’s mother to pass him down, where firefighters met both of them. Febow told the Post, “Justine handed me the baby from the window. We just needed to get him to safety. I was scared for my life but I did what I had to do it to protect my family.”
Two firefighters, Sal D’Agostino and William Benitez, watching from the ground, rushed up the ladder and told Febow to stay where he was. “Once the baby was on the ladder, that was a top priority,” Benitez said. “I really wanted to get control of the baby. [Febow is] on the ladder facing the wrong way with the baby in his hands. “I got up to him and grabbed hold of the baby and passed the baby back to Sal,” he said. Meanwhile, Morel and another woman were hanging out another window, screaming that they were about to jump. Benitez told them to stay inside. “We were able to get water on that fire really fast, and take them out safely through the interior of the apartment,” Battalion Chief Ron Schmutzler said. Firefighters also rescued another relative of Morel who had tried to take refuge in the smoky eighth-floor hallway.