I've known this hero since he was four years old. Rather, since we were both four years old. He's one of my oldest friends, and like a third brother to me...just wanted to share his inspiring story:
Thursday July 14th, I was heading south on Broadway towards the subway at 9:20 when a two-story wall of a building fell onto the sidewalk. The site was a two-story Gristedes supermarket that was being demolished to build a 40-story condo. The demolition began about one week ago, so scaffolding covered the sidewalk to protect pedestrians.
The entire street-front brick wall and the scaffolding crashed down onto the side-walk and innocent pedestrians. I was about 50 feet away from the site. As I was walking I blinked for a moment and suddenly heard the crash; I looked up and saw the terrible accident.
I ran to the site immediately. I threw off my blazer and surveyed the situation as some more citizens arrived to see what happened. As I looked down I saw an arm of an adult, wearing orange. Some people tried to lift the debris off the person, but I know there was too much to lift and pull a person out.
I yelled, "just clear the debris, throw it into the street." Within seconds we formed "pail-lines" and were removing debris from the site. Within minutes we pulled out a woman who screamed, "My baby, my baby."
I looked down and saw what was clearly the front wheel of a jogging-stroller. Someone who was standing on top of the debris yelled, "where is the baby?" I yelled back, "you are standing on it." People looked down as I pointed to the wheel. Despite what you read in the papers, there was a solid brick wall and scaffolding on top of this baby. I doubted there was anyway the baby could survive. We continued to clear the debris to reach the baby. We moved brick by brick, chunk by chunk. First we found another adult, in a "pocket." He was ok, and crawled out. We got to the baby and pulled out a flat, smushed stroller. I did not hear the baby crying; I was sure hope was lost.
But EMT was already there and, from what I hear in the news, resuscitated the baby. I want that brand of stroller for my child!
We continued to clear the debris because no one knew how many people could still be trapped. We found another adult past the infant, and people pulled this person out. By now police started to arrive, and, not knowing what to do, helped clear debris. Everything was frantic.
Eventually the fire department arrived with huge saws and chains. The Fire Dept cleared the civilians because, by now, we realized that we were working under exposed electricity and telephone wires.
I was dusty and dirty, but left the rest of the job to the professionals. I retrieved my blazer as I saw the lady in orange being loaded into an ambulance.
By the time I left the site there were news crews already there. I was interviewed by NY Times, 1010WINS, Ch2, 4,5,7 and CNN, among others. Article on some web sites say, "It was not immediately clear how the child was injured, officials said, but some debris spilled onto the
sidewalk and street. " Let me assure you. Nothing spilled into the street. It was a solid brick wall laying over that baby. I was told that some news sources say debris flew and hit the baby sitter in the shoulder; the baby sitter, turns out, was the first person we saved -she was buried all but her arm.