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Off-duty Boston FF catches baby tossed from burning home

A second off-duty firefighter also responded; other family members escaped the blaze and were transported by Boston EMS


Photo/Boston Fire Department

Grace Zokovitch
Boston Herald

BOSTON — An off-duty Boston firefighter sprung into action Sunday morning, catching a tot tossed by his neighbor, the baby’s desperate mom, from the second story of a Hyde Park home engulfed in flames.

“He was unaware until he went outside and saw that the back of the house was on fire,” department spokesman Brian Alkins said. “And then saw the lady hanging out the window with her baby.”

The firefighter, who was not named by the department, moved under the window and told the woman, Luzmar Centeno-Valerio, to drop the infant. The baby made the two-story drop into his arms, Alkins said. Centeno-Valerio quickly followed suit, jumping from the window.

The details aren’t clear at this point, Alkins said, but both the 1-year-old’s father and a second 16-year-old daughter were also able to escape shortly thereafter.

The fire broke out around 7 a.m. Sunday.

The 2-alarm blaze started in the back of the 22 Norton St. multifamily building, according to the department, spreading to both the first and second floors before firefighters arrived.

Another off-duty firefighter in the neighborhood was first on the scene, Alkins said, taking in the raging blaze and immediately calling in to raise it to a second alarm.

That’s when the other off-duty firefighter, who lives in the building, helped rescue the baby girl and mom out back.

The department took about half an hour to contain the blaze, Alkins said. By that time, both stories of the back were scorched, and the fire spread to damage the roof over other parts of the building.

Both parents suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and one firefighter was evaluated and treated on-scene for smoke inhalation. Seven residents were displaced, according to a department tweet, and the fire totaled about $500,000 in damages.

Luzmar Centeno-Valerio’s adult son Anderson Centeno set up a GoFundMe for the family shortly after the fire, confirming that both Centeno-Valerio and her husband, identified as Tito Esteban, “have injuries but will recover.”

Their possessions though, Anderson Centeno wrote, were largely lost, and the recovery will be long “both physically and mentally.” Over $10,000 had been raised by Monday morning.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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