Timothy Cardinal Dolan Sunday lauded the heroism of the Bronx firefighters who responded to the fatal apartment fire sparked by a 3-year-old tinkering with a stove — joking it was time the smoke-eaters asked for a raise.
“I just want them to know that we love them and we’re proud of them and we’re grateful to them,” Dolan said as he addressed the firefighters of the FDNY’s Engine 88-Ladder 38 in Belmont. “You guys hear that? Okay? Now’s the time to ask for a raise.”
“I just want them to know that there’s a lot of people rooting for them and deeply appreciate what they do,” the Cardinal added. “When a tragedy happens, like we just saw, we all sit back — I sit back, or I get on my knees and pray — we all say ‘Oh my god I wish I could do something, I wish I could do something.’ ”
“I told these guys: They’re the ones doing it.”
Thursday’s blaze tore through the five-story, 26-unit building, killing 12. Twenty-two families were left homeless, according to the Red Cross.
The deadliest fire in 25 years started on the first floor, quickly eating its way to the fifth after the tot’s frantic mother fled the burning apartment with her two children–leaving the front door of their apartment wide open.
“A lot of the stories here — there [are] 12 people lost and four people in critical condition, but these firefighters and EMTs rescued a lot of people,” said FDNY Chief James Leonard. “If you saw the pictures of all the fire escapes, we had firefighters really putting themselves in harm’s way.”
Leonard added the FDNY was “humbled” by Dolan’s words.