Today’s news:

Firefighters get award for saving Auburndale man pinned by car

A few of the city’s Bravest will be receiving an award after their quick thinking saved an Auburndale man’s life Monday.

Memorial Day took a turn for the worse for Nicholas Diamantis, 54, after he became pinned by a car at his home on 196th St.

The FDNY received a call at about 3:40 p.m. of a man trapped underneath his car.

Luckily, the firefighters from Engine 320, at 36-18 Francis Lewis Blvd., were already out on a call, according to Firefighter Kevin Hurley.

“We got there in a minute,” Hurley said, who is from Ladder 167, located in the same house as Engine 320. “It was very lucky.”

The city’s Bravest — which also included Lt. Thomas Van Wallendael and Firefighters Robert Dawson, Thomas Swan and Peter Hidalgo — arrived to find Diamantis stuck between his car and a wall, according to Hurley.

All five will receive a unit citation for helping Diamantis survive, which is an award given to a unit that has performed above and beyond the call of duty.

Diamantis and his son had been trying to push a Ford Explorer into the family’s basement garage, the FDNY said. But when the car started to roll down the incline toward the house, Diamantis attempted to jump into the driver’s seat and hit the brakes.

But he did not quite make it and the car ran up against the wall, trapping Diamantis between the roof of the car and the door, which was pressed up against the wall.

“He was turning blue,” Hurley said. “He couldn’t breathe when we got there.”

Usually, the FDNY would inflate airbags between the car and the wall to allow Diamantis to free himself, but the Engine 320 did not have them on hand.

Luckily, a little cross-organization cooperation saved the day when two NYPD officers arrived on the scene and everyone shoved the car back up the incline by using muscle power.

“They were dispatched there, and we said, ‘Guys, give us a hand,’” Hurley said. “With those two extra guys, we had enough manpower to push the vehicle off.”

After the FDNY and NYPD extricated Diamantis from behind the car, they gave him oxygen until an ambulance arrived and took him to New York Hospital Queens at 56-45 Main St. in Flushing.

Diamantis was discharged later the same day.

Diamantis’ son said the family appreciated the actions of the FDNY and NYPD, but he did not want to comment further.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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