Uber driver pauses ride to airport to save people from burning building

NEW YORK — An Uber driver heading to LaGuardia Airport made an unexpected stop to help people escape from a burning building.

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Fritz Sam, the driver, told WCBS that he made the split-second decision to stop when he saw flames coming out of the building in Brooklyn.

“When I thought that 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 told the station.

After asking his passenger if it was OK to stop, Sam pulled over and jumped out of the car. After screaming for people to get out of the building, he ran inside and pulled two people out.

“I said, ‘Come on. We gotta go,’” Sam told WPIX. “I held his arm because he was a little wobbly and we just walked to the front door. The officer was there. The first firefighter was coming through the door with a hose. So the professionals are here. I’m gonna get out.”

The passenger in the car, Jemimah Wei, shared a photo on Twitter which shows flames shooting out of a window of the brownstone. In the caption, Wei noted that Sam still got her to the airport on time.

“You can’t help but think, you hope there’s no explosion. I just had to focus on the people that’s it,” Sam told WNBC. “All I wanted to do was do the right thing, display some courage. I was afraid, but there was a moment where I had to put it aside and focus on the task.”

Firefighters told WCBS that nobody was injured in the fire.

“So we got into the Uber and he was like, ‘Do I smell like smoke?’” Wei told WNBC. “I was like, ‘Dude, seriously? It’s fine. You just saved a life.’”

In a statement, Uber told WCBS: “We’re incredibly grateful to have such a heroic and thoughtful member of our community in Fritz. Today, he went above and beyond to keep his neighbors in New York safe — and still managed to get his rider to the airport on time.”

Sam told WPIX that Uber’s CEO called to thank him as well.

“I didn’t do anything special,” Sam told WPIX. “If your family was in a burning building, you wouldn’t hesitate. All I did was say, ‘Wait a minute, that may not be my family, but that’s somebody’s family.’”