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Firefighter lowered off roof to perform dangerous rope rescue in Brooklyn

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Firefighter Todd Brenner, left, lowered Andrew Scharf, right, so Scharf could rescue a man stuck in the burning building. (FDNY)

BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn — Firefighters rescued a man from the third floor of Zion the House of Faith Church on Sunday morning.

Ubeaka McKinney was searching the burning building for his grandmother, FDNY officials said. He was cornered by the flames on the third floor of the building Sunday morning. McKinney was surrounded by heavy smoke and he was panicking.

He was hanging out of a window when firefighter Andrew Scharf came to his rescue, an FDNY spokesperson said.

The firefighters couldn’t even see McKinney through the smoke, but they could hear his screams for help.


Firefighter Andrew Scharf demonstrates how the rope is tied for the rescue.

A firefighter lowered Scharf down from the roof to rescue McKinney. Scharf grabbed onto him with a bear hug and the two were lowered to the ground.

“I had to reassure him just to hold on to me and he’d be down quick,” Scharf said. “He was very thankful and very happy.”

The firefighters performed a roof-rope rescue, which is a last resort for because of the danger involved. A firefighter was also forced to use a rope to lower himself from a fire in Queens over the weekend.

“They are not just called the bravest; they are the bravest,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

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