The FDNY says a female EMT was sexually assaulted, while responding to a massive blaze in Bronx.
"It is disgusting and inappropriate," said Chief Lillian Bonsignore, the FDNY’s Chief of EMS Operations.
As 140 firefighters battled a three-alarm fire that tore through seven businesses on Westchester Avenue in the Soundview section of the Bronx, Bonsignore says one responder was groped and assaulted at the scene.
Bonsignore says one of her Emergency Medical Technicians was abused by a man who had flagged her down, claiming he needed help.
"As she approached this particular person, she was assaulted, inappropriately grabbed, and held,” Bonsignore said. “It required the help of one of our co-workers to try to break her out of that situation. It is disgusting."
The NYPD says 52-year old Aaron Cervantes-Mejia has been charged with forcible touching and sex abuse.
The FDNY intends to seek the full punishment against Cervantes-Mejia by pressing the district attorney to charge him under a five-year-old law that makes an assault on an EMS worker a felony.
"We will not tolerate it,” Bonsignore said. “We will follow through 100% and we support full prosecution of anybody who puts their hands on an EMS member. EMS is here to save your lives. Let's take care of them."
The fire broke out just after 6 a.m. in a 99-cent store. Because of heavy smoke, the MTA temporarily ordered all 6 trains to bypass the above-ground station at St. Lawrence Avenue.
There were no reported injuries from the fire, but the FDNY says the harm done to one to one of their EMTs is something that must never happen again.
"None of our people should have to come to work and deal with a situation like that," Bonsignore said.
Bonsignore says the young victim is now in the care of her family, with full support from the Fire Department.