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New York's Bravest Help Avert Tragedy In Brooklyn Fire

GRAVESEND, N.Y. (CBS 2/1010 WINS) -- Some of New York's Bravest earned that title Friday morning, saving elderly residents in one Brooklyn building from a fast-moving fire that injured more than 10 people.

New York's Bravest were on display in Brooklyn. Nick Shelse, along with two other firefighters, rescued three elderly tenants, said to be in their 70s and 80s, from intense flames. Despite his heroism, Shelse didn't want to stand out from his colleagues..

"It just so happened that we were working on the inside today. All around, it really could have been anybody in this firehouse," Shelse, of Ladder 161, said. "It just so happened to be us working last night, but it feels good."

LISTEN: 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reports

FDNY officials say an electrical problem caused the fire, which started in an apartment bedroom and brought 100 firefighters to the scene early Friday morning. It took about 45 minutes to get the fire under control.

In addition to the three tenants who were seriously hurt, several other residents and six firefighters were treated for minor injuries. One resident who witnessed the fire expected the worst.

"Either [there were] no people at all, because if there are some people, they cannot be alive at all," witness Tamara Sarycheva said. "It was like five, six meters of fire through the window."

It's a total loss in the sixth-floor apartment where the fire started. Furniture, lamps, appliances, and personal items were all destroyed.

Alvin Perlzweig lives just down the hall, and he had to do some early morning quick-thinking.

"I had hip surgery four weeks ago – hip replacement – and I knew I had to get out on the fire escape, because my apartment was filling up with smoke," Perlzweig said.

He and the other tenants who escaped uninjured are fortunate. Fire department officials say the three injured residents remain in critical condition.

The injured are being treated at Jacobi Medical Center.


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