ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA/NBC) — A Florida congressman who risked his life to save a toddler from a burning building has reunited with the little girl he saved this week.
Deputy William Puzymski of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office was one of the deputies who responded to a fire at an apartment building in Orlando early Saturday morning. Body camera video showed him springing into action to save a 2-year-old on a third-floor balcony of the apartment building.
Deputy Puzymski climbed the burning building to reach the child. He heard on the body camera video shouting, “We’re coming!” Pass me your baby!
“He’s like, ‘give me the baby, give me the baby’ as he climbs up and tries to get stronger,” said the child’s mother, Barbara Elenus. “And I’m like, ‘ugh, I don’t know, I don’t want to give you my baby.'”
Elenus eventually handed over her child, 2-year-old Sophie, to the deputy. Puzymski got to safety with the girl.
“This deputy is my hero, he changed my view of law enforcement,” Elenus said. “He was ready to lose his life to save my life and the life of my children.”
Sophie’s siblings, including her 13-year-old brother Jeremiah, had already managed to get out of the building. They saw the rescue happen.
“I saw the officer climbing and I heard him talking about passing Sophie and it was scary,” he said.
The mother-of-four tracked down the first responders who helped save her family on Tuesday. She said nothing was salvageable after the fire and they are temporarily living in a hotel.
“I just pray that the kids and I have a place to call home and that we live and feel safe,” Elenus said.
For now, however, she said she was just grateful to the first responders who saved her.
“I’m just happy to be alive and I’m here to share my story.”