Deputy Heard Baby's Cries Amid Fire, Started Climbing

William Puzynski saves 1-year-old girl from 3rd-floor balcony in Orlando
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2022 10:25 AM CDT

A local sheriff's deputy was in the right place at the right time when an apartment building in Orlando, Fla., went up in flames over the weekend. Per WKMG, William Puzynski of the Orange County Sheriff's Office was on patrol around 4am Saturday when a call was radioed in about a nearby two-alarm fire. Puzynski rushed over to the Isles at East Millenia complex, where the structure was already caught in a raging inferno. People were trapped inside their apartments, as well as on their balconies. "It was chaos everywhere," he says.

Amid all the other din, however, Puzynski heard something especially distressing: the cries of a baby. When he looked up, he could see a woman (who turned out to be the baby's mother) holding the wailing 1-year-old girl on a third-floor balcony. "At that moment I knew I had to save the baby," he says. CBS Miami and Facebook have video of the rescue, shot by Puzynski's own bodycam, attached to a vest he'd torn off and dropped to the sidewalk so he could scale the building. Footage shows Puzynski reaching up to take the baby after climbing high enough, then handing her down to other first responders.

Firefighters were able to get everyone else out of the building, including the baby's mom and grandmother, per CBS Miami. The Post notes that a dozen apartments were damaged, with more than 30 residents displaced. There were said to be no fatalities, though three people suffered minor injuries, including two firefighters and a child. One family also reported their pets had perished in the fire. "Some nights you go home, and you don't really know if you've made a difference, but in situations like this you feel it," Puzynski tells WKMG, adding that the baby's mother found him later to thank him and give him a hug for his efforts. The sheriff's office tells People the baby is "doing well." (More uplifting news stories.)

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