Dyker Heights

Off-Duty NYC Firefighter Carries Out Neighbor as Massive Fire Rips Through Own Home

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An off-duty New York City firefighter watched flames engulf his own home on Sunday but that didn't stop him from doing his duty and rescuing his neighbors -- all without any fire protective gear.

The blaze broke out shortly before midnight inside Peter Orlowski's home in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, authorities said. More than 200 firefighters responded to the scene and battled the fire for four hours as it spread into a neighboring home at 74th Street and 13th Avenue.

Orlowski, who has been a firefighter in Brooklyn for five years, was among those who jumped into action, video from the scene showed. He helped save his parents, his sister and his dog, and as the flames began to spread next door, Orlowski went inside and carried out his elderly neighbor.

"He didn't have anything. no gear, nothing on. He didn't go in to get his wallet, his ID, nothing," said Patricia Ciurej, Orlowski's sister-in-law. "He's just like, "I have to do something.' He did this just out of goodness of his heart. He's a very good person. He didn't think twice about himself."

A dozen firefighters suffered minor injuries, officials said. Orlowski's family was uninjured but they lost everything in the fire.

"[Orlowski]'s really distraught right now," said Ciurej. "I mean...the most important thing is that they're alive."

A total of 12 people who lived in the now-charred buildings have been displaced. Ciurej says she started a GoFundMe to help the family get back on their feet.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, officials said.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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