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Two Bridge and Tunnel workers injured saving people from LIC fire

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Bridge and Tunnel officers saved more than a dozen people from a fire that swept a four-story building near the Queens-Midtown Tunnel early Wednesday, the MTA said.

The transit agency said no civilian injuries were reported in the two-alarm fire that broke out about 6:30 a.m. at 10-39 51st St. in Long Island City, although Joseph Vasquez and Ronald Linck were injured while evacuating residents from the building. Both officers were taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment of cuts, bruises and smoke inhalation.

Five firefighters also suffered injuries. The fire was in a building adjacent to the toll booth plaza for the Midtown Tunnel.

“We saw heavy flames and smoke as we approached and we started knocking on doors to rouse people,” Bridge and Tunnel Sgt. Kris Owens said.

Owens was aided by Sgt. Paul Leggio, Sgt. Jacinth Thomas and Officers Steven Wall, Dave Rivera and James McGuigan. The Bridge and Tunnel men also evacuated two buildings adjacent to the fire.

MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast praised their action.

“Our Bridge and Tunnel officers work around the clock to protect our customers from hazards of vehicular traffic, but when they saw lives at risk off our property, these brave officers did not hesitate to plunge into danger to save them. I am proud of their selfless actions to protect the public.”

Posted 12:49 pm, July 30, 2014
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