ROOSEVELT, NY (PIX11) — As fire and thick smoke consumed a house in Roosevelt, volunteer firefighters jumped into action; now they’re being thanked.

Volunteers Chief Anthony Sotira and Lieutenant Joe Brown were honored Monday for their efforts on East Raymond Avenue on the morning of Nov. 4.

Brown, who volunteers with Baldwin fire service, heard the call go out. The local department needed backup. He was working his job as a sanitation supervisor in the area. Sotira, a Freeport firefighter, had just gotten home from work.

They both rushed to help. At the scene of the fire, an 82-year-old woman was trapped inside a backroom, as flames poured in from the door. 

Heavy smoke conditions but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to get her out,” said Lt. Joe Brown, with the Baldwin Fire Service.

The heat could be felt from the window. Sotira climbed in more than once to try to get the woman out as Brown guided him from outside, but it didn’t work.

“We used a sledge hammer to cut a two by three foot hole and she was on the other side of the wall,” Brown said.

They were able to get the woman out out. She was in respiratory distress and was rushed to the hospital, where she died three days later.

Now, the firefighers’ efforts to get her to safety despite the obstacles and dangers they faced are being recognized by the Nassau County legislature, which gave them an honorary citation. 

“Your tremendous heroism in effectuating this rescue, risking your own lives as our volunteers do every single day to protect the lives of perfect strangers. Really is a beautiful expression of love and compassion that you have for serving our community,” said Steven Rhoads who represents the 19th Legislative District.

The honorees declined to speak, and only smiled in gratitude. Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy was among the people honoring the firefighters.

 “Heroic and he follows the footsteps of his brother who is a chief. His father’s been a chief in the village or 30 years, just a great family and a big help to the Village of Freeport fire fighters,” Kennedy said.

In the fire’s aftermath, some in the community expressed concerns about the response time, indicating a need to have paid fire staff as a way to improve it. Officials say responding crews did everything that could be done and more.

“That we can’t speak on because we are on from Freeport. These guys were there. Fires burn the same temperature whether it s a career department or volunteer. So, the level of training, dedication and commitment of volunteers in Nassau County is second to none,” said Raymond Maguire, executive director of Freeport Fire Department.