A Brooklyn teen is being dubbed a hero after stopping to help residents in a three-story apartment building escape a deadly early-morning fire in the New York City borough’s Flatbush neighborhood, the New York Post reports.
Taliq Thomas, 16, was walking home from a friend’s house around the time of the fire, which reportedly started around 1:45 a.m. It caught his attention and he rushed into action, helping to pull a mattress under a window so that two men who were trapped inside could jump down to safety, according to the Post.
“It was two people that jumped, one that landed on the Golden Krust [Caribbean Bakery] top and another one landed. I pulled out a mattress so he could land and he landed on the cement,” Taliq told PIX11 News. “He was burned all over and he was unresponsive for, like, a minute.”
Taliq then went upstairs with a stranger, banging on doors as the pair went, alerting residents about the fire.
“His heroic actions quite possibly saved lives,” Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams said in a statement, according to the Post.
The man who landed on top of the bakery awning, Jean Maurice, told NBC’s Channel 4 that he did not have any other choice but to jump, according to the Post.
The other man, 58-year-old Tony Celestin, later died at the hospital. His 26-year-old daughter, Manushka, said that she was told by residents that her father had been alerting residents about the fire before he himself became trapped.
“He’s a hero. He’s this area’s Superman. He could have gotten out [if he hadn’t gone back to save people],” the grieving daughter told the Post.
Five people were injured in the blaze, two of them in serious condition. The cause of the blaze is still undisclosed.