Uber driver hailed as hero for helping tenant escape burning Bedford-Stuyvesant building


NEW YORK — An Uber driver is being called a hero after helping people escape a building fire, all while his passenger waited in the car.

It was a split-second decision, driver Fritz Sam said, to stop his cab and run into a burning brownstone at 489 Classon Ave. in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

“When I thought that there might me someone inside that building, there was something in me that couldn’t hold back and I just had to go inside,” Sam told CBS2’s Thalia Perez on Thursday.

Jemma Wei said she was Sam’s passenger and was headed to LaGuardia Airport to catch a flight. She snapped a photo of the flames pouring out of the second-floor window and said she and others on the street began yelling to alert residents of the fire.

“The fire was pretty scary, so it looked like it might explode. So, I think he just thought it was very important to get everyone out. And it turns out, it was a really good call because the tenant was still inside,” Wei said.

Sam said firefighters arrived just as he was helping the tenant get outside.

“She said, ‘No, I don’t want to go.’ And I was like, ‘What? I am not leaving you,'” Sam said.

Firefighters said it happened just before 8 a.m. on Wednesday and within a half our the blaze was under control. They also said no one was injured. Wei said she believes if Sam had not selflessly run in to help, the outcome may of been much different.

“I hear he managed to get two people out and I just thought that was so brave,” Wei said.

Uber released this statement saying, “We’re incredibly grateful to have such a heroic and thoughtful member of our community in Fritz. Today, he went above and beyond to keep his neighbors in New York safe — and still managed to get his rider to the airport on time.”

“You don’t expect something like that to happen, obviously, and you also don’t expect to be driven around by a hero,” Wei added.

Sam said he is a married father of two and though it was a very scary scenario to run into a burning building, he would do it again.