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Cited for ‘exemplary bravery’ in fire rescue

Billy Iacovetta was in his car in January when he received a call from his son saying their Bayside home was on fire.
He called 9-1-1 and rushed home to 202nd Street.
On his way, he called 12-year-old Jesse again and heard him screaming in pain and the sound of firefighters trying to get him out.
Firefighter Antonio Velez navigated through thickening smoke to rescue the boy, of Forest Hills, and their cat Bailey.
“I ran to him and he was standing out there in the fire fighter’s arms,” said a relieved dad.
For his “exemplary bravery and the highest standards in the performance of his duties,” Velez, of Engine 320 in Bayside, was presented with a City Council proclamation by Councilmember Dan Halloran.
“What we do have here in this particular case is a firefighter who, at great risk to himself, went in, and not only saved a young gentleman and a cat, but also did so in a way that shows the greatest amount of consideration,” he said.
“I’m very grateful,” said Velez about the proclamation from the councilmember.
The fire began after an outlet behind a couch sparked, setting the furniture and home ablaze.
“I’d like to thank firefighter Antonio Velez for saving my son’s life,” said Billy, “as well as his brother fire fighters for everything they do day-in and day-out…they are true heroes in my opinion.”
“Firefighters of the City of New York do as much as they can, unfortunately, with as little as the city provides them,” said Halloran. “But they do it because they care, they’re committed.”
Halloran’s brothers Patrick and Terence are also firefighters. His late cousin and FDNY lieutenant, Vincent, fell with the World Trade Center towers on 9/11.
“They mean something to my family who has been in fire and police service for five generations,” said Halloran.
Although shy, Jesse said he was doing better after the “scary” ordeal. The second degree black belt is also back to martial arts and baseball.

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