2015-11-25 / Front Page

Mayor Recognizes Firefighter For Saving Infant From Corona Blaze

By Joyce Vetere Milowski and Dan Miller

NYC Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro joins NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio at a special City Hall ceremony where the mayor recognized FDNY 18-year veteran Adam Vilagos for bravery and for saving the life of 3-week old Sunjay Headley Jr. in a fire that engulfed the upper two stories of a private home on 106th Street, near 34th Avenue in Corona.Photos by Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESNYC Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro joins NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio at a special City Hall ceremony where the mayor recognized FDNY 18-year veteran Adam Vilagos for bravery and for saving the life of 3-week old Sunjay Headley Jr. in a fire that engulfed the upper two stories of a private home on 106th Street, near 34th Avenue in Corona.Photos by Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESOn November 19, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio recognized FDNY Lieutenant Adam Vilagos for an act of heroism that saved the life of 3-week old infant Sunjay Headley Jr. from a burning home in Corona on Tuesday night.

When Lieutenant Vilagos, a member of Engine Company 316 (East Elmhurst) arrived at the burning building he learned from family members, who gathered on the street, that a 3-week old infant was still in the house on fire. Lieutenant Vilagos, an 18-year veteran of the FDNY and the nephew of NYC Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, raced into the smoke filled building and up two flights of stairs to the attic where he was able to hear the crying child in the smoke blackened attic room. When Lieutenant Vilagos located the child he picked him up in his arms and carried him down the smoked filled staircases and to the street where he delivered the infant to members of the EMS who were also on the scene.

According to the baby’s aunt and sister of his mother the fire started around 9:00pm in a second floor room rented by Thyron Presley, a 51 yr. old man. It appears that the infant was with his mother Samantha Morris, in the attic a few minutes before the fire was discovered.

The infant’s mother was cleaning up the attic getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Ms. Morris decided to go downstairs to prepare a bottle for the sleeping baby, leaving the infant in a bassinette in the attic. As the other five children in the house were being put to bed, Mr. Presley, the tenant began to shout that there was a fire in his room. Members of the family ran upstairs to attempt to put out the fire.  Mr. Presley’s clothing caught on fire and he began to scream. Members of the family assisted him in putting out the flames that caught on his clothing. It was then that Samantha, the infant’s mother, called 9/11.

The family was not able to put out the fire as the flames and smoke spread to the other rooms on the second floor. Samantha Morris tried to get to the attic to get her child but the flames and smoke leading to the attic blocked her attempt. The family members were frantic that they could not reach the attic to get 3-week old Sunjay Headley Jr.

Samantha Morris, he baby’s mother was screaming as she and other family members ran out from the burning building. She told firefighters that her baby was in the attic. Upon hearing the mother’s plea to save her baby Lieutenant Adam Vilagos jumped into action to find and save the baby. Fortunately, he did.

Both the infant and the 51 year old tenant were taken to nearby hospitals. On Friday, when the Queens Gazette reached the family for comments, neither had returned to their home. All of the windows on the second and third floors were boarded up and the electricity turned off.

For his efforts Lieutenant Vilagos was recognized by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio at a City Hall Blue Room ceremony at which the mayor said “Thanks to the Lieutenant, this baby will now grow up.” “And it my honor now to present on behalf of the people of New York City a certificate of recognition to Lieutenant Adam Vilagos. The mayor was joined by NYC fire commissioner Daniel A, Nigro, the uncle of our city’s newest hero.


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