A Hellertown native and veteran New York City firefighter participated in the rescue of an infant from a fatal high-rise fire in the Bronx Sunday.
Photos of Matthew “Matt” Zimpfer of the Fire Department of New York atop a ladder holding the baby in one arm have appeared on websites, on Facebook and in news outlets, and have been viewed around the world, prompting salutations and exclamations of gratitude from his family and friends at home in the Saucon Valley on social media.
The fire that broke out in a 19-story apartment block at 333 E. 181st Street in the Bronx’s Tremont neighborhood claimed at least 19 lives–nine of which authorities have said were children’s–and is being called the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 30 years.
Photos of Zimpfer holding a baby while edging down a ladder outside the building were indicative of the dramatic and perilous nature of the rescue operation by firefighters.
According to a 2019 Twitter post by the FDNY, Zimpfer is part of the department’s Engine 46 Ladder 27, which is located in the Bronx. The company is located off the Cross Bronx Expressway, a little less than a mile south of where Sunday’s fire occurred.
#FDNY Firefighters Matt Zimpfer and John Roche, Ladder 27, and Firefighter Greg Dicembri, Ladder 17, drape purple and black bunting on the exterior of #Engine46 and #Ladder27 where Firefighter Christopher Slutman served. Read more: https://t.co/GCzA3RIHmn pic.twitter.com/ePraSfs3AC— FDNY (@FDNY) April 9, 2019
Zimpfer’s father, Wally Zimpfer, was the long-time Supervisor of Campus Operations at Saucon Valley School District, before retiring several years ago.
“Your cash donation will enable the distribution of emergency relief supplies and provide support for the victims and their families,” the donation page states. “Your entire donation will go towards helping those impacted by the fire.”