- Uber driver Fritz Sam was taking a passenger to the airport when he spotted a four-story apartment building that was on fire.
- He asked his passenger’s permission to pull over to assess the situation.
- When he learned that there were still people inside, the heroic driver rushed into the smoke-filled apartment to rescue the residents.
An Uber driver is being hailed as a hero after helping two people escape a burning apartment building in New York City.
Fritz Sam, an Uber driver since 2015, said he was taking a passenger to LaGuardia Airport when he noticed a commotion on the street. Then, he spotted a four-story brownstone building that was on fire in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood.
Smoke and flames were coming out of a second-floor window but there were no first responders at the scene yet. The 54-year-old driver knew he had to do something.
“I asked my passenger, ‘Can I pull over? Maybe we can help’,” he told TODAY. “So we got out of the car and ran over there.”
“When I thought there might be someone inside that building, there was something in me that couldn’t hold back, and I just had to go inside,” Sam added.
At first, they were screaming for people to get out of the building. But when someone said they thought at least one person remained inside, Sam rushed inside the brownstone.
His passenger, Jemma Wei, snapped a photo of the flames pouring out of the second-floor window and said she and other bystanders were also yelling to alert residents of the fire. Jemma said she was impressed by Sam’s heroism.
Sam located a man on the first floor and a woman on the second floor and accompanied both to safety.
Firefighters arrived shortly after the last resident exited the building. Sam made sure the residents were okay before returning to his car to take Jemma to the airport.
“On the way to the airport this morning and drove by a burning building, my Uber driver LEAPT out of the car and INTO the building while the rest of us screamed at the top of our lungs for people to evacuate, the first truck came, we rushed to the airport, I made my flight,” Wei posted on Twitter.
Uber also acknowledged Sam’s act of heroism and honored him with a “hometown hero” award.
“We’re incredibly grateful to have such a heroic and thoughtful member of our community in Fritz,” an Uber spokeswoman said in an email to The Washington Post. The spokeswoman confirmed that the company is giving Sam a one-year Tesla rental — his daughters’ dream car.