THE BRONX — Neighbors spotted the smoky 2-alarm fire on the top floor of 615 E. 179th St. just after 4:30 p.m. and immediately sprang into action, knocking on doors and trying to help older residents get out.
Manuel Collazo, whose elderly mother lives on the second floor, ran up two more flights to the fourth floor to help get his mother’s elderly friends out.
“I saw the fire coming out of the apartment,” Manuel Collazo, hero neighbor, told PIX11. “I went in with all my clothes on and I saved that lady’s life, that’s what I did."
Another neighbor says he carried an 80-year-old woman four flights down to safety in the building next to where the fire started.
“I bring her down as everyone was screaming ‘fire, fire,’” Rafael Munoz, another hero neighbor told PIX11. “Nobody got hurt, thank God."
As fire marshals searched for the cause of the fire and building inspectors tried to determine the stability of the structures, residents worked with the Red Cross looking for temporary housing.
One neighbor who shot the cell phone video of the fire also handed out Extra clothing he had to help his neighbors in need.
“They would do the same for me,” Armando Santana, a generous soul, told PIX11.
And there were at least three emotional reunions with beloved cats trapped alone for hours.
Garfield, Mimi and Tommy are now all safe.
“He’s scared and shaking, but safe,” Brianna Rodriguez, cat owner, told PIX 11 as she kissed her cat’s head.
The three people rushed to the hospital are said to be recovering.