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2 heroes saluted after Yorktown fire

Tim Fleischer reports from Yorktown Heights.
November 25, 2013 3:30:11 PM PST
The residents of a fire damaged home are very grateful to the many people who are stepping in to help them after losing their house to this fire, but two men in particular risked their own lives.

They make a great team, Robert Cole and Brian Avery. These two men saw each other for the first time on Monday since they rescued a woman and her daughter from their burning house.

Early Sunday morning, Brian ran down the street to the home of Giulio Eliseo, where flames were rapidly growing. Her daughter, Marie, was on the front lawn.

"Is anybody still in the house? My mom's upstairs! My mom's upstairs," Avery explained.

Driving nearby and seeing the smoke, Robert Cole was on his way to breakfast with his family. He pulled up and ran to house, trying to scramble to the second floor.

"I reached and grabbed the gutter to pull myself up over the overhand and the gutter pulled out. And at that time a jumped down and it was you who came and the ladder was coming," Cole said.

Brian climbed up first through dense smoke.

"Out of nowhere you appeared, and all I could say is thank God somebody else is here. There is no way I can do this on my own," he said.

At the window with flames at her back, Maria was barely able to move.

"I had to get out the window, but I couldn't do it because I had hip surgery. Then I saw these two, my neighbors," she said.

"She was in the window. I don't know how, pulled her out and got her down," Cole said.

"Making sure she was secure on the ladder and coming down. I was just down there to receive her," Avery said.

"I was told that the whole house was covered in smoke. You couldn't see over here when I got here," Eliseo said. "They are true heroes."

And seeing her rescuers, Maria had big hugs and high praise for both men.

"I didn't know who was pulling me out at the time. I saw Brian, but I didn't know who rob was," she said.

Two strangers brought together to save her life.

"We couldn't have had a better outcome," they said. "Right place at the right time. That's the bottom line."


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