Watch CBS News

Stories Of Heroism During Bronx House Explosion: 'My Motive Was Get In There And See If People Need Help'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Out of the tragic house fire in the Bronx is again the heroic efforts of first responders who ran into neighboring homes, including police officers who suffered smoke inhalation.

As CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported, there are stories of heroism in this tragedy.

The NYPD released body camera footage of a dramatic rescue in a building adjacent to the one that exploded.

As flames shot out of the collapsed home, good Samaritans could be seen helping a woman get out from the rubble.

"She was stuck under wood. It was wood over her legs and everything. So it was just her upper body was out, and she was there like this," a neighbor named Nelly told DeAngelis.

Nelly said she saw the trapped woman after hearing a big boom from a building above. She ran out and recorded a quick video while in the process of helping out.

Watch Jenna DeAngelis' report --

"We actually pulled the gate. Two people got in, and they picked her up and brought her out," Nelly said.

While that was happening behind the homes on Fox Street, on the other side Howard Crump and Cassandra Profit were driving by the front.

"We just pulled over to try and help them. When I turned around, my friend was already in the house when the flames are going out," Profit said.

"My motive was get in there and see if people need help," Crump said.

He said he assisted officers in getting the woman out.

City Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. said community members came together.

"They're like family. When I was there and they were putting out the fire, I was speaking to the homeowners directly across the street and they were naming individuals, and whose homes belong to who," Salamanca said.

Police say 77-year-old Martha Dagbasta was killed in the explosion. Two other women, ages 68 and 82, were taken to Jacobi Hospital in stable condition. Five police officers were taken to Lincoln Hospital for smoke inhalation and are expected to be OK.

Heartbroken neighbors are shaken from another devastating incident.

"I'm destroyed. I'm really destroyed," Yolando Tirado told CBS2's Dick Brennan.

For Tirado, the tragedy is just too hard to take after a year of grief and sadness.

"This is from our community. People you're losing now as it is, with the pandemic, from the virus, and then to see this," she said.

Many have lived on Fox Street for decades and remember it from when they were kids.

"My brother lost everything. A lot of people, I grew up here for 34 years. Everyone, people I know lost everything. That's hard," Maryann Roman said.

The explosion terrified homeowners like Isabel Rodriguez, who lived just two doors away.

"To be honest, I thought I was gonna get a heart attack. Because I've never seen nothing like that in my life. Never that big explosion. Oh my god," she said.

The 74-year-old says she had to get her physically challenged son out the door with the fire burning nearby.

"I started screaming. I almost panicked. I thought I need to go through that door because I thought I was gonna lose control," Rodriguez said.

Malcolm Dominguez raced to check on his mom, who lives across the street from the home that exploded.

"What kind of relief was it to find out that your mom was OK?" Brennan asked.

"It was the best feeling in the world. Like, people say that they have, like, very happy moments in their life. That was much happier than, like, many, many of the things that have ever gone on in my life," Dominguez said.

The recent history in the Bronx has been agonizing and those who go way back know the meaning of the phrase, "The Bronx is burning."

"The '70s and '80s, many of these buildings were burnt down to the floor. To see these fires really breaks our hearts and breaks our homeowners' hearts," Salamanca said.

Now another Bronx neighborhood mourns once more and picks up the pieces.

"The Bronx are survivors. They'll get through it. They'll get through it with the help of the community," one neighbor said.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.