‘A team effort’: Fort Lauderdale firefighters recount high-rise rescue gone viral

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Fort Lauderdale firefighters who helped a woman in a wheelchair stuck 31 stories up with no elevator to get her down are now sharing their story after video of the rescue went viral on TikTok.

Local 10 News told you about Haleigh Rosa’s story on Tuesday. Floodwaters recently shut down her building’s elevator, and that’s when Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue stepped in to help.

It’s pretty normal at the firehouse for the crew to get in full gear — oxygen tanks and all — do a full workout circuit, 20 flight stair-climb included and then grab chow. In fact, they’d just wrapped up a workout when their now-viral high-rise rescue call came in this past Sunday.

“I want Johnny back,” Rosa says in the video, referring to FLFR Firefighter John “Johnny” Jones.

Firefighter Chance Davis, with two years at FLFR, explains, “I told her, ‘Sorry, I probably smell because straight after the workout, I started cooking dinner, and the call came in, so… that’s probably why she wanted Johnny back.”

The TikTok video captures another moment, with Rosa, holding on tight, asking, “Am I choking you?” and a firefighter responding, “A little bit…”

Davis continues, “At first she said, ‘Oh, why don’t you guys just carry me?’ kind of as a joke and we’re like, actually, it’s not really a bad idea.”

Firefighter John “Johnny” Jones, who has 23 years with FLFR, chimed in, “She’s a light girl, we can just take her up the stairs, no problem, let’s just get this, and get it done.”

The firefighters took on the challenge of carrying Rosa up 13 floors. On Sunday night, a burst pipe shut down the elevators on Rosa’s side of the apartment building. She uses a wheelchair, and to get out of her 31st-floor apartment to the working lifts on the other side, she had to call in the firefighting cavalry.

Capt. Mike Bloomberg, who has served with FLFR for 32 years, said, “On that particular call, all I did was carry her bags.”

Bloomberg added: “They took turns carrying her, one of them carried the wheelchair — and it was a team effort.”

“At the time, she says, I’m going to get a video, (do) you guys care and, Cap’s like, ‘no, I don’t care,’” Davis said.

“Two years ago, I didn’t know what a TikTok was, could have been a Tic Tac for all I know,” Bloomberg said.

Jones added: “Phone starts blowing up — I get all these texts, and sent this video to me, and I’m like what’s going on here? I could not believe that thing was going crazy.”

Rosa’s high-rise rescue TikTok video has garnered over 8,000,000 views. She showed up at the fire station Wednesday to express her gratitude.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better trio to show up and save the day,” she said.

She brought the firefighters treats from, appropriately, Fireman Derek’s.

If she ever needs help again, the firefighters are ready.

“It’s the best job in the world,” Davis said.

Rosa shared lunch with the first responders.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue is currently hiring. Who knows, you might find yourself going viral someday.