Montco native, NYC firefighter makes dramatic rescue

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (WPVI) -- A Montgomery County native is making headlines around the world for pulling off a heroic and dramatic rescue early Thursday morning.

The New York City firefighter rappelled from the roof of an apartment plucking an elderly man from an inferno that had already claimed one life.

"Somebody called and said there's a man hanging out of a window," New York City Firefighter Jim Lee said.

The daring rope rescue caught on a cell phone shows Lee propelling down the side of a five-story apartment building in the Upper East Side, clenching a badly burned resident in his 80s.

"I told him to stay calm, and when we got down, I said, 'I hope you enjoyed the ride,'" Lee said.

When his father Jim Lee Sr. watched the video of his son, who he calls Jimmy, in action, he had a lot running through his mind.

"I hope the rope don't break is probably the first thing, but I know he's well trained," Lee, Sr. said.

Before his son became a member of New York's elite Rescue 1 fire unit, he got his start at the Willow Grove Volunteer Fire Company at 16 as a junior firefighter, and after 15 years, worked his way to assistant chief.

"There was times in here before he left, we would take the ladder truck out together, I'd drive the front, he'd drive the back," Lee, Sr. said.

Lee, Sr. is the Willow Grove Fire Chief Engineer and says Jimmy actually helped the force get their only tiller truck that's still in use.

On Thursday night, members of the fire company watched as one of their own got a hero's recognition on ABC's World News; they were reminded Jimmy's dream of helping others started right in Willow Grove with them.

"He's always wanted to be a firefighter since he was 3. Definitely, definitely proud. My wife and girls, they're are all proud," Lee, Sr. said.
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