COURAGE NEVER OFF-DUTY FOR GIRL'S RESCUER

By TODD VENEZIA
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March 10, 2002 -- An off-duty firefighter saved a 7-year-old Brooklyn girl from her family's blazing home yesterday by scaling her building and pulling her from a second-story window, officials said.
Robert Doyle, a 15-year veteran with Ladder Company 174, was driving down Kings Highway on his way home from work just before 6 p.m. when he spotted smoke billowing into the air on East 51st Street.

"There were orange flames shooting out of the building," said a neighbor who witnessed the blaze.

Doyle happened to pass by at just the right time, and was the first firefighter to reach the flaming East Flatbush home, fire officials said.

He saw the child in a window. Smoke and flame were swirling all around and she was shouting for her life, officials said.

Doyle immediately leaped into action, climbing the side of the structure, stepping onto an awning near the window and lifting the girl from the building, said a Fire Department spokesman and colleagues who were at the scene.

He then handed her down to some neighbors, who carried the girl to safety - and rushed back into the burning building searching for any other possible victims.

He found none, but was burned on his head, face and hands in the second rescue bid. He was treated for his injuries at Kings County Medical Center.

The girl, whose identity was not released, was also taken to the hospital. The nature of her injuries were not immediately known. No one else was hurt in the fire.

"Doyle will probably be recommended for a meritous service award," said a department spokesman.

This wasn't the first time Doyle, 44, had distinguished himself. He already has two other unit citations.

Twelve units and 60 firefighters responded to the one-alarm fire. It was put out in about 25 minutes, but left the building gutted.

"It's burned pretty bad," a neighbor said.




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