EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — NYPD Officers Flavio Chauca and Jason Truglio did not hesitate when the call went out for help on Monday.
They were a few blocks from the NYCHA building at 60 E. 102nd St when smoke from a mattress fire in the hallway was filling the building.
“We heard people were trapped, so we initially thought we have to do something,” Truglio, , who doubles as a volunteer firefighter in North Merrick, said a few hours after the Monday afternoon blaze was extinguished.
There was some smoke on most floors. The officers told people to either evacuate or stay inside and take wet towels and block the bottom of their doors.
However, when they got to the ninth floor they could barely see because of the thick smoke.
“We had to be low to the ground because we know smoke rises, so for own safety we have to stay very low,” Chauca said.
With no one in sight, and the FDNY arriving, the officers began to back out, but then they heard a cry for help.
“So we went back on our hands and knees,” Truglio said. “ A gentleman was yelling out. We yelled at him to come to us, and he made his way toward us, and we walked him down safely from the ninth floor.”
The man — along with five others — only had to be treated for minor smoke inhalation. Their lives were saved by two of New York’s finest who didn't think twice about being their bravest.