Uber driver stops to save people in Brooklyn building on fire

A New York Uber driver has been called a hero after he ran into a burning building to help residents escape.

Fritz Sam was reportedly taking a passenger to LaGuardia Airport at 8 a.m. when he spotted a multi-story brownstone in Brooklyn on fire on August 17. There were no first responders on site yet, so he jumped into action after asking his passenger: Jemimah Wei, for permission.

Uber driver Fritz Sam stops to evacuate people from a burning building. (Photo: Twitter/YouTube/Uber)

“Five minutes into the drive we’re passing this block and I noticed there’s activity in front of a brownstone,” Sam said. “I realized it was a fire.”

Wei followed Sam as he ran to the building and alerted the sleeping residents to the fire, which by this time was contained on the second floor of the four-story building.

“Flames erupted from the building. There was broken glass everywhere,” Wei said. “It looked really bad.”

The passenger said she was not worried about missing her flight after seeing people’s lives in danger.

“It wasn’t even a calculated decision. He just ran in without hesitation,” Wei said. “He ran straight into the fire. I thought it was so brave.”

According to CNN, the neighbors weren’t sure if there were people inside, so Sam ran into the brownstone. He saved a man on the first floor and a woman on the second. The woman was at the top of the stairs with smoke behind her when Sam found her, he told the Washington Post. Sam tried to lure her out of the building but she appeared stunned and refused to move.

“I think she was in shock and didn’t want to leave,” Sam said. “It took a bit of negotiation.”

“I’m not leaving without you,” he recalled telling the woman. “If you don’t go, I’m not going.”

Firefighters and other first responders arrived at the scene six minutes after Sam approached the building. The Uber driver had cleared the entire building by then. It took 70 firefighters to extinguish the flames. Nobody was injured. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

In the end, Wei, a writer who was on her way to an authors’ conference, made her flight on time. She then tweeted about Sam’s heroic efforts and it went viral.

“He has a really strong moral compass,” Wei said of Sam. “It was an act of pure kindness. I really want good things to happen to him.”

Sam, a married father of two girls, ages 5 and 7, has been an Uber driver since 2015. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was among many on social media to applaud Sam’s heroic efforts, noting that Sam spoke to him about being grateful someone moved his car while he was responding to the fire.

“People are really good,” Khosrowshahi tweeted.

Sam told the Washington Post he believed it was his “responsibility” to help people in the building.

“It’s not my family, it’s someone else’s family,” he said. “If it was my family and I couldn’t be there, I would hope someone else would go in and help them.”

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/08/22/he-just-ran-in-without-hesitation-uber-driver-halts-trip-to-save-people-in-burning-brooklyn-building/ Uber driver stops to save people in Brooklyn building on fire

James Brien

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