NYers of the Week: Residents Came to Aid of Distressed in Immediate Aftermath of East Village Explosion

The dust in the East Village didn't have to settle before we saw our fellow New Yorkers go above and beyond to help their neighbors in distress. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.

Our first responders arrived in just three minutes. Our neighbors responded in seconds. 

"It was pretty intense to see people not even thinking about anything, just going in and doing what they have to do to get people out of there," said Troy Hinson, one of the people who responded. "And there was a woman on the fire escape ladder. and people were helping her to get her down."

The explosion in the East Village shattered a storefront. Shocked and shaken, you didn't back away. 

"When I got closer and I saw the poor worker under the grate in the basement, his head sticking out in just dust, his face filled with dust, and a few of us, just random people, just start helping and picking him up," said Blake Farber, one of the people who responded.

One of those random people was a professional. Off-duty firefighter Mike Shepherd was nearby, heard the blast and climbed into action. 

"There's an old saying, I was scared but I did it anyway, you know. You just hope it ain't that time," Shepherd said. "I'm third-generation so, and it's just in your blood. From being a New Yorker, you're always willing to go out and help somebody."

When the flames grew stronger, your bravery didn't waver. You weren't asked to pay it forward. You just don't turn your back on your neighbors. 

"We’re here for the families, counseling, resources, one on one, and we'll be working with all of the city agencies to ensure that the day goes as smoothly as possible," said Carline Rivera, director of services and programming for Good Old Lower East Side.

We've come to expect nothing less from the residents of our city. 

"It's fundamentally true. This city knows how to handle adversity," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"I'm shocked and I'm frustrated and I'm scared just like everybody else, but I really just got emotional looking at the footage," said Spiro from Jackson Heights, who called into "The Call." "And this is what I saw. I saw New Yorkers helping New Yorkers. That's what I saw. Saw people picking people off the street, bloody and full of glass, you know. And I just got to say, I mean, sometimes, we got to look at that."

We agree. That's why all of those who responded to this tragedy are our New Yorkers of the Week.

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