UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) — A rookie firefighter, just a few months on the job when he was injured in a fire in Queens three weeks ago, was released from the hospital on Friday.
An applause certainly fit for one of New York’s Bravest.
Firefighter James Spoto was all smiles Friday as he walked out of New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell’s burn center with his parents by his side.
“He’s been in pretty good spirits, although when you have burns like that, it’s a very rough road,” FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens said.
The FDNY rookie’s heroic comeback is just that — heroic. A little less than a month ago, he embarked on a long road to recovery after being severely burned while battling a serious fire in his home borough Queens.
“It became clear after a few days that his burns had progressed to full thickness burn injuries requiring surgical care,” Dr. Philip Chang said.
Painful burns on both arms required two surgeries, performed by burn surgeon Dr. Philip Chang, who says skin grafts were taken from Spoto’s body to cover his wounds.
“He has a number of weeks of rehabilitation ahead of him in terms of regaining his strength and full range of motion in both arms, but we anticipate he will make a full recovery and be able to return to the line of duty eventually,” Chang said.
The 30-year-old found himself directly in the line of duty in no time, running into a burning home in Woodside, Queens the night of March 8 to look for trapped residents.
Eight other firefighters were hurt. Eyewitness News reporter Anthony Carlo was told it was only Spoto’s second fire on the job.
“This is a very dangerous job and he found that out in his first few weeks of work,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “He fell back on his training, he really kind of stayed calm, it’s very commendable. I’m sure he’s going to be a great firefighter.”
Spoto is with Ladder Company 163, they call themselves the Woodside Warriors. Suffice to say, he’s already earned that nickname after making it out of the burn center.