DOC-TO-BE RESCUES 3 IN QUEENS FIRE
By Tamer El-Ghobashy and Tony Sclafani
By day, he helps deliver babies at a Queens hospital. By night, plucks them from near death.
Heroic medical intern Thomas Bui was cheered on his Queens block yesterday hours after bursting into a fiery Jamaica home, rescuing two children and their mother – and
rousing 20 more residents.
In three daring runs into the burning building, Bui, 30, carried out the children, then held on to their mother as Bui and the mother leaped from the second-floor balcony to escape the licking flames. The blaze nearly destroyed the second floor, but no one was hurt, however it did leave six Mexican immigrant families deeply grateful for a neighbor like Bui.
“We don’t even know him, and he risked his life for us. He’s a true hero,” said Manuel Silva, 31, whose children and wife were the rescued ones. “That man has my thanks.”
Bui, an intern at Queens Hospital Center who moved to the block a month ago, shrugged off his new hero status. For Bui, helping people comes naturally. “Whether it’s delivering babies from the birth canal or from a tunnel of fire, it’s automatic. You just go,” Bui said.
At roughly 9:15 a.m., when Bui was arriving home from his 24-hour shift in the hospital, he saw a woman stretched out a second floor window screaming for help. Quickly Bui told a neighbor to call 911 and then hurled a chair through a first-floor window.
“I just ran upstairs, scooped up a baby and ran back down,” the intern said. “It was all
happening so fast.” Bui again entered the building, filled with thickening smoke, and brought out another child. When he ran into the building for the third time, he discovered the mother of the two children he had rescued. But this time there was no chance of leaving the burning building. Bui told the woman they had to leap for their lives. After jumping about 15 feet, they arrived unharmed on the concrete.
Despite no sleep, Thomas Bui, a student at Ross University School of Medicine, flashed an easy smile as he posed for pictures and played with the children he saved.
“I just want to be a good doctor,” Bui said, an inspiring oncologist. “That’s when people need you.”
Firefighters, who had the blaze under control in about 20 minutes, praised Bui’s
efforts. “This is the kind of stuff that real heroes are made of,” one fire official said. “He (Bui) stepped up to the plate and did the right thing.” Fire marshals were probing whether the blaze was deliberately set at the two-story home since residents said a small fire ignited in the same spot last week.