THE BRONX - Two Bronx firefighters are back on the job for the first time since January 2005.
Eugene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley survived Black Sunday, which marked the worst loss of life for the FDNY since the Sept. 11 attacks. Stolowski and Cawley both jumped five stories to escape from the burning building that day, surviving three firefighters who did not make it.
?All I thought about was the only way out of here is through the window,? Stolowski said. He has trouble remembering details about being trapped in the building, but he does remember how he felt when he realized he was alive.
?I remember them dragging me out and it snowing and it hitting me in the face,? he said. ?And I said, ?I guess I?m alive because I don?t think there is snow in heaven.??
Stolowski?s fellow firefighters at Ladder 27 call him a hero for saving one of their own, but both Stolowski and Cawley claim luck is the reason for their survival.
?This whole week, I?ve been thinking about how ironic it is that I?m going back the week of Thanksgiving,? Cawley said. ?Because I have so much to be grateful for.?
Stolowski and Cawley say they are excited to be back at work. Stolowski will start doing administrative work at the firehouse in January, and Cawley will start his first tour as a firefighter later this week.
Since Black Sunday, every firefighter is required to have safety ropes and harnesses.