Firefighter rescues woman trapped in burning New York City high-rise

Firefighter uses rare "rope rescue" to save woman
Firefighter uses rare "rope rescue" to save w... 01:24

New York City — Dangling 16 stories over a Harlem sidewalk, Brian Quinn may look like a Hollywood stuntman, but this is no movie. The New York City firefighter was caught on camera trying to save a woman trapped on a ledge outside her burning apartment.

"She was very frantic. She was screaming she was going to die," Quinn told CBS News. "She did not want to let go."

It's the first time in years the department has resorted to a dangerous technique called a rope rescue.

"I was scared," Quinn explained. "When you're up that high, it's scary."

The rescue played out perfectly in a display of absolute bravery on the part of firefighters and the woman they saved.

"I was ecstatic. It was an emotional feeling. There was an adrenaline rush," Quinn said.

A model of humility from someone who may very well be the newest poster child for "New York's Bravest."

Krya Walker, a neighbor, said Quinn looked like a superhero. "He was like Spider-Man, Superman, coming out that window, encasing her body to make her feel safe," Walker told CBS New York.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said while rope rescues are extremely rare, crews are always ready to go. 

"Heroism is what they're all about," Nigro said. "They train, they train, they train, so even something that's so infrequent, they're able to do just like that."

  • Nikki Battiste
    Nikki Battiste On Twitter»

    Nikki Battiste is a CBS News correspondent based in New York.