A Suffolk County police officer was credited Friday for risking his own life to save residents from their burning Bay Shore home—before firefighters even arrived on the scene.
Third Precinct Officer Christopher Germano, who was previously recognized for saving a heroin overdose victim last spring, jumped into action at 6:37 a.m. Friday when he discovered that the second floor of the Wisconsin Avenue house was fully engulfed in flames, police said.
The brave officer used a neighbor’s ladder to climb to the second floor where an adult passed off a 3-year-old boy. He then entered the first floor and instructed a group of adults and a teenager and a 6-year-old to evacuate, but was unable to reach residents stuck on the second level because the main staircase connecting the two floors was outside, police said.
While still inside the burning house, a resident told Germano of an attic entrance with a pull-down ladder that accesses the second floor, but was boarded up. The quick-thinking officer grabbed a kitchen knife and used it to cut a whole through the wood, which allowed him to gain access to the second floor and rescue a 35-year-old woman and her 12-year-old son, police said.
“He did it at great peril to his safety,” said Suffolk police Lt. Frank Leotta.
Germano was able to get everyone to safety before firefighters arrived, Leotta said.
The Brentwood Fire Department eventually extinguished the fire. A 62-year-old man and Germano were both taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, police said. The resident suffered non-life-threatening injuries and Germano suffered from smoke inhalation. He was treated and released, police said.
Arson detective are investigating the cause of the fire.
Germano and three other officers were credited in March with saving a 17-year-old man who overdosed on heroin and was unconscious. The man regained consciousness after officers administered a dose of Narcan, a prescription drug reverses opiate overdoses, police said at the time.