All in a day’s work
“All I heard was a woman screaming ‘help me, I’m going to die, help me, help me.’ Pure adrenaline took over. By the time I arrived in front of the house, people were standing around and recording with their phones, but not taking any action. I immediately called 911. “ – Joseph Lauro, Meter Reader, Canarsie
While walking his meter reading route in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, meter service representative Joseph Lauro heard a call for help. He walked around the neighborhood until he found the source of the calls.
Smoke was coming from the second-floor window of the house. There were several bystanders with their phones out filming the incident but not attempting to enter the building. Joseph immediately called 911 providing the exact location to the emergency operator.
As he stood there waiting for emergency responders, Joseph saw a woman jump from the second-floor window to the ground. A locked gate at the end of the alleyway prevented her from escaping from the immediate vicinity of the smoldering building. Using his leg strength, Joseph pushed apart the gate, enough so the woman could slip to safety.
The woman then attempted to re-enter the house to retrieve her cats. Joseph yelled out to her that it wasn’t safe, but she went in anyway. He saw her collapse at the base of the stairs. Joseph ran into the smoking building and carried the woman safely to the street where he waited for fire and emergency medical attendants to arrive.
“I was so frustrated. I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t anybody helping to stop her from running into the house” Joseph said. “Between her running back into the house, and me making the decision of running into the house, it was a long 30 seconds.”
Following his actions, Joseph returned to work to continue his shift. Now that’s a full day.
Joseph was recently recognized with a Lifesaving Award for his heroic actions by National Grid and Local 101 leadership at a Canarsie town hall.
Antonio XuLiu and Alexandria Dresser contributed to this article.