NYer Of The Week: Bronx Hero Reflects On Rescuing Boy From Fire
The latest New Yorker of the Week, store owner Billy Cretan, became a national hero when he rescued four-year-old Christopher Ramcharran from a burning Bronx apartment Wednesday. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
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It was an image that captured the hearts of people across the country Wednesday, when Billy Cretan rescued four-year-old Christopher Ramcharran from a burning apartment and gave him CPR to bring him back to life.
"You have to thank him, because if it wasn't for Billy I would have lost my son," says Ragesh Ramcharran, the boy's father. "I have to thank him as long as I am living on this earth."
Cretan, who lost his own father to a fire when he was 12 years old, says he didn't think twice about springing into action.
"I just kicked in, I kicked in gear," says Cretan.
Cretan was in his store on the first floor of the apartment building when he heard screams. When he saw smoke coming from the third floor apartment, he climbed the fire escape and saw the boy.
"He didn't have much space to breathe, the window was only opened about two inches," says Cretan. "I said, 'Stay there and just keep your head up and make sure you breathe. No matter what you do don't go nowhere, you are going to be fine.'"
Cretan broke the window, helped the boy's grandfather out, then stood aside as firefighters arrived.
"I said, 'Okay, professionals are here, it's time to leave,' and as soon as I went down stairs with the older man, I heard the firefighter saying, 'Kid, where you going? Where you at?'" says Cretan. "That's when I got scared. I said, 'No, I got to go back up.'"
Cretan was handed the unconscious boy and carried him down the fire escape. After giving Ramcharran CPR, he gave a thumbs up to firefighters letting them know the boy was breathing.
"He came back to me, he opened his eyes and I said, 'Good, stay with me, don't go nowhere. You're going to be fine,'" says Cretan.
"It could have been my kid. He did a really good job, Billy. Good man," says Barton Velez, Cretan's friend.
Cretan says he's still thinking about all those who lost their homes in the fire.
"I hope somebody will come forward to help these families that suffered damage," says Cretan.
"There should be more people like him in the city," says Velez.
"He doesn't feel like it but to everybody he is my hero," says Desiree Guzman, Cretan's fiancee.
As for Christopher Ramcharran, he is back home with his family and is expected to make a full recovery.
"When the true tests in life come, that's when you see what you're made of," says Cretan.
So, for taking a risk by coming to the rescue, Billy Cretan is the New Yorker of the Week.
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New Yorker of the Week
75 Ninth Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10011