Orlando, FL – An Orange County sheriff’s deputy risked his life on Saturday to climb a burning apartment building and rescue a baby trapped on a balcony with its mother (video below).
Records showed the first 911 call about the fire at Isles at East Millenia apartments on Lake Fountain Drive was made at 4:11 a.m. on April 23, WKMG reported.
Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy William Puzynski was patrolling nearby when he heard the call go out for the two-alarm blaze.
Deputy Puzynski was one of the first to arrive on the scene, WKMG reported.
The deputy saw families trapped on every floor of the three-story building.
He said people were hanging on the balconies screaming for help, WKMG reported.
“When I got here, we saw the building fully engulfed. It was chaos everywhere,” Deputy Puzynski described the scene.
Then he said he heard a baby screaming, WKMG reported.
“And then I saw on the third balcony there’s a one-year-old baby that the mom was trying to get over. At that moment, I knew I had to save the baby,” Deputy Puzynski said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) released bodycam video from the scene that showed the daring rescue.
“How old’s your baby?” Deputy Puzynski yelled up to a woman on the third floor who was backlit by orange flames.
The woman yelled down that her baby was a year old, and the deputy told her to hang on and started climbing, bodycam video showed.
Two other deputies backed him as he made the climb.
The deputy climbed to the second floor but couldn’t reach the baby from there, the video showed.
So he climbed up onto the railing of the second floor and the mother leaned over and handed a dangling baby to the brave deputy.
“And then I just climbed up to the third, grabbed the baby and then again I handed the baby down to my partners and they helped me down,” the deputy told WKMG.
Orange County Fire Rescue (OCFR) arrived on the scene just as the deputies got the baby to safety.
Firefighters rescued seven people who were still trapped in the building, including the baby’s mother, WKMG reported.
“They threw ladders to the building and they were able to get everybody safely,” OCFR Battalion Chief Steve Sherrill said.
Deputy Puzynski was relieved to see the baby’s mother brought to safety, WKMG reported.
“Afterwards when the mom came and found me, she actually gave me a hug, so it was rewarding,” the deputy said.
It took fire crews over an hour to knock the fire down, WKMG reported.
All 24 residents were forced to relocate from the building.
OCFR said the fire started on the first floor and spread, WKMG reported.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.
“The State Fire Marshal comes out depending on the extent of the damage or if there’s suspicion of illegal activity. At this point that’s under investigation,” OCFR Battalion Chief Chris Henesy said.
Henesy said he was glad Deputy Puzynski was on the scene to help, WKMG reported.
The deputy said he was glad that he was there at the right time.
“It’s a different feeling. Some nights you go home, and you don’t really know if you’ve made a difference, but in situations like this you feel it,” he told WKMG.
Watch the daring rescue unfold in the video below:
Amazing video of OCSO Deputy rescuing baby girl from fire!
Early this morning, deputies were assisting @OCFireRescue & saw a baby & mom on 3rd floor balcony with flames coming from the apartment. Deputy Puzynski climbed the outside balconies & mom handed baby down to him. pic.twitter.com/T5JeXLY7tA
— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) April 23, 2022