In the FDNY the roof rope rescue is a rare, dangerous and daring operation and it is the last option to rescue people trapped by fire. It is only used when no other options are possible. In the early morning hours of September 29, 2020 FF Abraham G. Miller of Tower Ladder 23 decided it had to be done to rescue a child trapped at a second alarm fire in upper Manhattan. Tower Ladder 23 responded to reports of a fire in a six-story non-fireproof multiple dwelling. Upon arrival there was heavy fire venting out of two windows on the fifth floor in the front of the building cutting off access to the fire escape as a means of egress. FF Miller, assigned the roof position, quickly determined that the best access to the roof of the fire building was to use the adjoining building. Once he was on the roof of the fire building, FF Miller checked the perimeter and heard screams. Through the smoke coming from an open shaft he saw a child being held out of a bathroom window on the top floor. FF Miller was joined on the roof by FF Jairo Sosa of Ladder Co. 34. FF Miller informed the chief in Battalion 16 that he was setting up a roof rope rescue because the fire had cut off the front fire escape and there was smoke pushing under pressure from the vented bulkhead door. FF Miller simultaneously began tying the rope into his personal harness while telling the occupants that help was on the way. The normal procedure for a roof rope rescue is to tie one end of the rope to a substantial object as an anchor, but one was not available on the roof of the building. Nevertheless, FF Miller mounted the roof parapet and FF Sosa began to lower him to the child in distress. At this time Tower Ladder 23 chauffeur FF William Gustavson had arrived on the roof and he pushed down on the rope to create additional friction to control the speed of the descent.
FF Miller stopped his descent at the small bathroom window where the occupants were and he transmitted to the chief that he was confronted with heavy smoke, a child gate on the window frame, and the glass intact in the window. FF Miller used his arm and elbow to break and clear out the glass on the upper part of the window and pulled the young child out through the opening. He also told the woman who passed him the child to stay at the window because other firefighters were coming for her. FF Sosa then lowered FF Miller and the child six floors to the ground of the open shaft. When FF Miller was on the ground he informed the chief that he and the child were safely on the ground and that more people were inside the apartment. This was the first roof rope rescue using the FDNY’s new life saving roof rope. The heavy fire in the fire apartment was extinguished by the determined effort of the members of Engine Co. 84. The child and her grandmother, who was with her in the bathroom, both survived. For his decisive and brave actions at this fire, FF Abraham G. Miller of Tower Ladder 23 is being honored at the Bravest Awards Dinner.ntent