Firefighters rescue dangling man from 10th floor of high-rise fire

Firefighters Rescue Man Dangling From 10th Floor of Burning High Rise

PATERSON, N.J. — A fire that broke out in a public housing building for seniors in Paterson Wednesday morning forced one man to climb out his 10th floor window and hang there until firefighters could rescue him.

A resident from the eighth floor of the Ward Street building rushed downstairs to evacuate, looked up and was shocked.

"When I came down, I went around and I see the guy upstairs hanging from the window, and I saw the flame," said Santa Velez.

She ran to the front of the building and told police. Firefighters tried to reach the man by ladder, but couldn't.

Eventually they fought their way through the flames and rescued the man from the inside.

"When they was taking him to the hospital I see on his arm, he was burned very bad," added Velez.

The man, who has not been identified, was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in serious condition with burns to his face and arms.

A firefighter hurt his back while rescuing the man.

Everyone else who lives in the building is now seated around the first floor common room. They've been fed lunch and can't go back upstairs. A clean up crew and an insurance company are working to assess their apartments to for smoke and water damage.

"The firemen, everyone has been very nice," commented another resident of the senior building, Elsie Hart. "As you can see I have my medicine. They went up and brought my medicine down. They've been very nice."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It's one of two high-rise fires to break out in Paterson Wednesday.

A few hours after this was extinguished, another broke out at a different public housing building on Rosa Parks Boulevard.

The second fire was also brought under control quickly and is now under investigation.

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