Yonkers firefighter loses job, then helps save family

A firefighter who received a layoff notice Monday rushed into a burning building Tuesday and helped rescue a family of four. On Monday, Greg de Sousa received a layoff notice informing him that due to

News 12 Staff

Dec 31, 2008, 1:02 AM

Updated 5,622 days ago

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Yonkers firefighter loses job, then helps save family
A firefighter who received a layoff notice Monday rushed into a burning building Tuesday and helped rescue a family of four.
On Monday, Greg de Sousa received a layoff notice informing him that due to city budget cuts, he will no longer have a job in 2009. However, he still risked his life Tuesday when he ran into a building on Yonkers Avenue to help save a mother and her three young children from a fast-moving fire on the second floor.
According to Yonkers Fire Department Chief Thomas Fitzpatrick, de Sousa single-handedly saved the family.
?I just covered up the 2-year-old in my arms, put the 8-year-old under my coat and led them out of the apartment,? de Sousa says.
De Sousa hopes the layoffs can be avoided. He says he?s wanted to be a Yonkers firefighter ever since he was a child. ?It?s the best job in the world,? he says. ?I don?t know what I?m going to do. I can?t really think about that until it happens.?
The firefighters? union president High Fox says the city?s decision to lay off firefighters is dangerous. He believes City Hall should focus more on saving jobs and less on renegotiating the union?s contract. "We negotiated our contract in good faith not to give things back. We've earned them. We worked for them,? Fox says.
De Sousa is one of six firefighters who will be laid off. Additionally, 19 officers will be demoted. However, de Sousa says even with unemployment looming ahead, he won?t turn his back on his duty. ?I?m here to do a job, and I love this job,? he says.
Thanks to de Sousa and his crew, everyone affected by the fire is back home in their apartments.


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