Fritz Sam, an Uber driver in New York City, has been called a “hero” by the company’s CEO for his quick response in helping to rescue victims of a burning building.
Sam told CNN that he and his passenger, Jemimah Wei, were driving through Brooklyn on their way to the airport at around 8 a.m. on Wednesday when they came across a burning four-story brownstone on Classon Avenue.
Sam claimed he saw smoke and flames coming from an apartment on the second floor but no emergency personnel. Sam dropped off his passenger and ran towards the blaze after getting permission to do so.
Wei soon joined him, and together with the other nearby residents, they started shouting “fire” to wake up anyone still asleep inside. Sam told CNN that he asked neighbors if anyone else lived in the building but got no firm answers, so he ran in to look for anyone who might still be there.
The fire was still confined to an apartment on the second floor, so Sam was able to make his way through the building with the goal of evacuating the remaining residents before the situation worsened.
He told CNN that he helped get a woman from the second floor and a man from the first floor out of the building safely.
Sam and Wei both claim that the firefighters arrived shortly after everyone had left the building. Once Sam had made sure the locals were okay and comforted them, he got back in his car and drove the rest of the way.
Wei’s day ended happily, too; he tweeted his congratulations to Sam.
Wei tweeted, “On the way to the airport this morning and drove by a burning building, my Uber driver LEAPT out of the car and INTO the building while the rest of us screamed at the top of our lungs for people to evacuate.”
Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, tweeted his gratitude to Sam for his heroic actions on Thursday.
On his Facebook page, he wrote, “I spoke to this Uber hero; he was grateful that someone helped move his car; all the while, he was the one who ran into the building.”
Brooklyn native and father-of-two Sam claims to have been an Uber driver since 2015.
He expressed relief to CNN that his passenger was able to make her flight and that everyone had escaped unharmed.
According to CNN, no one was hurt in the fire, which is still being investigated.
Red Cross spokeswoman Stephanie Fox told CNN that 11 locals have been affected by the fire and are receiving assistance from the organization.
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