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Firefighter Timothy Dowd took his normal route to work Sunday evening, but before he even arrived at Engine Company 313 in Douglaston, he got a chance to be a hero.
Dowd, a 14-year veteran of the city Fire Department, was instrumental in foiling an armed robbery on Marathon Parkway in Little Neck during which a woman was held at knifepoint by four assailants.
"It's not something that happens every day," said Dowd, 36.
The firefighter, who has worked at Engine Co. 313 for nearly four years, was driving north on Marathon Parkway at about 5 p.m. when he noticed four men surrounding a woman on the sidewalk at 57-40 Marathon Parkway.
One of the assailants had a knife, he said, and menaced the 46-year-old victim until she fell down.
"She went down pretty hard," he said. "And she looked pretty terrified."
As Dowd pulled his car over and got out to help, one of the robbers grabbed the woman's purse and began to run, he said.
"The assailant happened to run right in front of me," said Dowd, who at that point had gotten out of his car.
Dowd chased the knife-wielding robber and caught his shoulder, causing the suspect to fall down.
"I managed to grab the purse as he was falling," he said. "This same fellow got up on his feet and came at me with the knife.
"All I could think of was my wife and two kids," said Dowd, who lives in East Islip, L.I.
Dowd was able to pick up the contents of the stolen purse and to run back to his car before the robber could attack him, but he did not stop there. The firefighter then jumped into his car and followed the other attackers into a nearby apartment complex.
He took a moment to call 911 from a pizzeria at the Deepdale Shopping Center on the corner of Marathon Parkway and Horace Harding Expressway, and as he left the restaurant
Dowd noticed one of the robbers walking to a bus stop across the intersection.
At that moment, Officer Ron Freeman of the 111th Police Precinct pulled up, and the two men used Dowd's car to drive up to the suspect, where Freeman arrested him.
"I wasn't going to subdue another guy without Ron Freeman there," Dowd said.
Freeman arrested Frantz Narcisse, 21, of 80-32 233rd Rd. in Bellerose. Narcisse was charged with second-degree robbery, and police are searching for three other suspects in the case.
Dowd, who worked for Engine Co. 22 in Brooklyn for 11 years, said: "I did what any other fireman would have done."
©2000 Community Newspaper Group
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