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Firefighter collapses while responding to Bronx house fire. FDNY says a "miracle drug" likely saved his life.

"Miracle drug" likely saved firefighter who collapsed during Bronx house fire, FDNY says
"Miracle drug" likely saved firefighter who collapsed during Bronx house fire, FDNY says 02:14

NEW YORK -- A firefighter collapsed, likely from smoke inhalation, while responding to a Bronx house fire Friday, and fire officials say a "miracle drug" likely saved his life.

The fire broke out at a multi-story home on White Plains Road near Patterson Avenue in Clason Point around 3 p.m.

The New York City Fire Department says when crews arrived on the scene, the two-alarm fire had already spread to the basement, first floor and second floor.

They were able to stop the flames from spreading to a neighboring home, but that building did appear to sustain some exterior damage.

Firefighter seriously injured in Bronx fire

FDNY Chief John Hodgens says when firefighters began to enter the first floor of the home, they were met with heavy heat and smoke condition.

One firefighter stated he was having difficulty breathing and began to leave the building, but Hodgens says as he was walking out, he collapsed and lost consciousness.

Another firefighter issued a mayday, and crews carried the unconscious firefighter out of the building. Hodgens says the firefighter was not breathing by the time they got him out onto the sidewalk.

EMS crews immediately began life-saving efforts, including administering the drug hydroxocobalamin. Fire officials say it reverses the effects of cyanide poisoning, which can be caused by smoke inhalation.

"Hydroxocobalamin is administered when we believe someone might even have smoke exposure because it is so powerful, and it's the sooner they use it, the more likely it is to save a life. It is really a miracle drug. The drug itself is fairly new, not brand new. It's not something we've always had," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. "We have seen it do tremendous things to civilians and firefighters alike now that it's something that EMS has and uses regularly."

The firefighter was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where he was last reported to be awake and alert. He was held at the hospital overnight Friday so doctors could monitor his condition. He was released on Sunday

Fire officials believe administering hydroxocobalamin likely saved his life.

Hodgens says the firefighter is a four-year veteran and an Army member who has been deployed overseas multiple times.

The FDNY says they will investigate if there was a problem with his breathing apparatus that may have contributed to his collapse.

Two other firefighters were also injured and taken to Jacobi Medical Center. One suffered minor injuries and has already been treated and released, and the other is expected to go home Friday night.

5 displaced by Bronx house fire

The Red Cross says they are helping five adults from two households.

A second-floor tenant told CBS New York's Alice Gainer he was outside tending to his pigeons when he noticed smoke coming from the roof.

"I went downstairs, and I opened the door and it was full of smoke, black smoke. So I called, I called my home attendant, I screamed at her. And she gave me her hand and I took her out," Jose Fernandez said.

Both made it out of the home safely. Fernandez says the landlord of the building also lives there, but he is currently out of town.

An aerial view of a home in the Bronx that appears to have significant fire damage.
FDNY crews battled a two-alarm house fire in the Bronx on May 17, 2024. Chopper 2

A neighbor says he was out walking his dog and saw the smoke when he returned. He then got his nephew and another dog out of that neighboring home.

"It was like black smoke coming from the roof, and I thought it was our house, and it was next door ... I was terrified when I was seeing it," the neighbor said.

Video from Chopper 2 appeared to show siding on one corner of the house melted off, and all of the windows appeared to be broken out.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

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