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Firefighter: 14 Years Later…

Retired Firefighter Joseph Scaramuzzino left a Brooklyn synagogue Thursday with one thought on his mind — that his time with the FDNY meant something.

Just moments earlier, he had been reunited with Zalman Friedman, whom he saved from a burning building 14 years earlier.

“After 9/11, I asked God, ‘Why did you leave me here?’” said Scaramuzzino, who lost two nephews and a cousin when hijacked jets slammed into the twin towers. “On Feb. 8, 2002, at 4:21 in the morning, I found my purpose.”

“He was my purpose,” Scaramuzzino, 53, said, looking at the 31-year-old Friedman during the service at the Chabad House of Mill Basin on E. 65th St. Friedman’s wife and four children stood by the fire survivor’s side.

It was the first time the two had met since the retired Ladder 113 smoke-eater pulled the then-17-year-old from his grandfather’s burning Crown St. home in Crown Heights.

Bars put on the windows for security prevented Friedman from escaping.

Scaramuzzino ran in and shielded Friedman with his body as he took the teen down the burning stairs and outside, injuring his own elbow in the process.

Friedman said he would never forget his angel who pulled him from the flames.

“I was definitely afraid,” Friedman said, remembering the blaze. “I prayed to God that He’d send someone, and He did.”


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