Updated: 10-09-2003 10:01:32 AM

New York Firefighters Rescue Woman from Blaze

HEIDI SINGER and DAVID BURNS
Courtesy of The New York Post

Firefighters leaped into a raging blaze and pulled an elderly woman to safety yesterday, while a quick-thinking neighbor kicked in windows to help others trapped in the Brooklyn house.

Fire marshals are still investigating the cause, but neighbors reported hearing an explosion before the blaze broke out at 4:10 p.m. at 2260 West St. in Gravesend.

"It was burning out of control," said Gary Maurice, one of the first firefighters at the scene. "It was just burning out the window - it was really intense."

Firefighters Maurice, Josh Reder and a third colleague who did not want to be identified pulled 75-year-old Catherine Zaccone out of the burning house.

Zaccone was treated for burns at Staten Island University Hospital, and listed in serious condition yesterday.

Good Samaritan John Notarnicola, 38, was parking his car when he heard the explosion and saw the house erupt into flames.

With the help of two youths from the block, he ran to the back of the house and kicked in six windows, bloodying his arms in the process.

A couple living on the top floor of the house jumped to safety, and was unhurt, he said.

But Notarnicola couldn't reach the elderly woman on the second floor because there was too much smoke.

"The firefighters got there just in time," he said. "Thanks to them, the old lady was saved. Flames were shooting out, and all six of them went in there and they pulled the lady out. We just busted windows, but they really went into the flames."

But Notarnicola's wife, Andrea, wasn't as humble about his achievements, saying proudly, "He's always got his hand out to help."

http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=46&id=19952

photo David S. Burns/New York Post

Firefighters rescue a woman, 75, from a house that exploded in flames yesterday. A neighbor kicked in the windows to help.