Six Silver Spring, Md., residents were able to escape their burning apartment building a week ago Saturday night, in part due to the assistance of a Comcast technician who stopped to render aid and was assisted by other passers-by.
Technician Jorge Rivera, who works in technical operations, told The Wire he was traveling to a 10 p.m. appointment in the city Dec. 6 when traffic slowed and he spotted smoke drifting from a building to his right. He then saw a group of people trapped on a third-floor balcony, who, at that moment, dropped a baby girl to observers below.
“As soon as I saw that baby girl coming down, I stopped and grabbed my ladder,” Rivera said in an interview.
Observers had been unsuccessfully trying to remove a ladder from a parked service truck near the building when Rivera arrived. With adrenaline pumping at that moment, it was like his ladder “weighed nothing,” the tech said.
He and other citizen rescuers got the ladder deployed and two more children and the adults climbed down to safety, he said. Some people took pictures, others shot video of the fire, he said.
“I’m grateful for the people that actually helped,” Rivera said. “I’m really proud of them. We were just reacting.”
After the escapees assured him they were unhurt, Rivera went on to complete the rest of the night’s appointments.
He notified his supervisor what had happened and the dispatchers moved some of his jobs to compensate for the time spent on the rescue, he said.
At the next appointment, not far away, the resident asked, “Hey, there’s a fire over there. Did you know that?” Rivera just said “yes,” and went on with his assigned duties.