This is some of the radio communications with Brooklyn from the fire Monday morning at 1102 Prospect Place in Crown Heights where Firefighter Robert Wiedmann, 38 of Rescue 2, bailed out of a window in flames after the top floor flashed.
Firefighter Wiedmann was taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was in serious but stable condition Monday evening with burns over 45 percent of his body, the authorities said. Another firefighter, James Gersbeck, 52, was seriously injured as well; three other firefighters were treated for minor injuries.
This appears to be the clearest & most extensive version of the video of the escape by Firefighter Wiedmann.
The brownstone was empty, but the firefighters did not know that as they searched amid the four smoke-filled bedrooms on the top floor. Meanwhile, other firefighters prepared a hose and carried it up the stairs, Chief of Department Edward Kilduff said.
Without warning, a front room ignited, trapping Firefighters Wiedmann and Gersbeck, who were searching for residents to rescue, Chief Kilduff said. Firefighter Gersbeck made his way to the door and tumbled down the stairs, Chief Kilduff said.
Mr. Wiedmann was "literally on fire when he came out that window," said Stephen Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.
Mr. Cassidy said city budget cuts—which lowered manpower on one engine truck to four men from five—increased the response time and endangered the firefighters.
Chief of Department Edward Kilduff rejected the claim. The distance between the fire hydrant and the structure was small and "the line was in position in a sufficient amount of time," he said. Two engine trucks responded, and firefighters were spraying water on the flames six minutes after the fire was reported, he said.
Rescue 2's Firefighter James Gersbeck.