NEW YORK, NY — Burim Regjaj has been well known for his selfless efforts in Westfield, the New Jersey town where he owns a pizzeria, and on Christmas day his kindness showed again as he ran into a burning building on the Upper East Side to help people trapped inside.
Regjaj, who lives in Manhattan, rang the intercom of the building to alert residents to the danger while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, then proceeded inside the five-story structure, knocking on doors when the building’s electricity cut out.
“As I went further up, I started kicking the doors and screaming ‘fire, fire,’” Regjaj said. “On the fourth floor I could feel the temperatures rising.”
The blaze had started shortly before noon at the building on 69th Street near 1st Avenue, NY1News reported. It grew to three alarms and spat thick smoke into the area, the report said.
By the time he got to the fifth floor on the building, Regjaj told TAPinto Westfield, he saw flames from underneath an apartment door and could see the door’s frame buckling from the heat.
“Over my head I could see the smoke flowing into the hallway,” he said. Regjaj hurt his foot kicking open a door. By that time firefighters reached the floor and Regjaj alerted them to the flames, he said.
The firefighters donned their oxygen masks and cleared the apartment before escorting Regjaj out of the building through the lower floors.
It took firefighters about 2 hours to control the blaze, according to the television report. Four firefighters were treated for minor injuries and no residents were reported injured, the NY1 news report said.
“The bravery I’ve witnessed on the fire department’s part was unbelievable,” Regjaj said. “They kept their cool.”
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