Fire Hero Saves 13 People
Published: March 27, 2007 | 5876th good news item since 2003
A hero rescued a baby from a blazing building before saving another 12 people trapped in the inferno. Vasco Cordeiro leapt 12 feet from his apartment on O’Connell Street in Waterford and plucked three-month-old tot Hayden from his terrified mum Clarissa McCormick’s arms.
The brave barman then woke up the other residents of the eight apartments engulfed in flames before alerting the fire brigade.
The 25-year-old from the Algarve in Portugal, who has been living in Waterford for 18 months, raised the alarm at 5.30am.
He said: “I did what anyone else would do in the same situation. I feared for my life and others so I had to do something.
“I arrived home from work at 3.30am when suddenly I heard an alarm and opened the door to check what was going on.
“The smoke came straight at me. I could see nothing because there was too much smoke but I could hear the roar of the flames.
“I threw my cat out the window and then leapt out myself.
“Two girls were screaming inside the apartment downstairs. I went to the window and they passed out the baby.
“I woke everyone before taking the baby to a safe spot.
“It was quite scary but thankfully everyone got out.”
Hayden’s mum Clarissa told how she thought her and her baby son were going to die in the fire. The 22-year-old from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, said: “I was in the flat and I heard banging on the window. I woke up and saw Vasco outside – he was saying that the place was on fire and to get out.
“I passed the baby to him – he saved us. I was scared. I thought I was going to die.
“It was Vasco who saved us all. He was amazing.
“Hayden is fine, thank God. We are just glad to be alive.
“I really did think that we weren’t going to get out.”
All of the tenants, many of whom are foreign nationals, were taken to Waterford Regional Hospital.
They were treated for shock and smoke inhalation. Two units of firefighters fought the flames. Investigations are now focusing on witness reports that a cigarette thrown through the letter box may have been to blame.
Gardai sealed off the scene and launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.
Waterford chief fire officer Niall Curtin said: “The cause of the fire is not yet known but it seems to have started in the hallway.
“What is very important here is that somebody made a 999 call – for that reason, 13 people were rescued from the building.
“A Garda investigation is under way and we will carry out our own examination of the scene.”