East New York

Hero canine saves owner’s life from East New York fire

Several families homeless

January 23, 2019 By Todd Maisel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Joel Rojas embraces his boxer, Goliath, after the fire. He thanked the dog for alerting him to the flames. Eagle photos by Todd Maisel
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In this story, Goliath is the hero.

A fire destroyed a private home and damaged two others in East New York on Tuesday, and the destruction could have been much worse if it weren’t for the heroic actions of a canine. 

Joel Rojas, the manager of a valet company, was sleeping in his basement apartment when his dog Goliath, a 4-year-old boxer, began to alert him of trouble. 

“Goliath started barking, so I looked out the window in the rear, and someone jumped out the window,” Rojas said. “I saw the smoke and fire. I got my laptop, my coat and my dog and ran out of here. I don’t know the condition of my apartment in the basement, but I’m sure there will be damage.”

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The woman who leapt from the second-floor window of her burning home suffered a broken arm, fire officials said, and was transported to Brookdale University Medical Center.

The fire broke out shortly after 1:30 p.m. and quickly spread through the entire house. Fire officials said that when they arrived, fire was blasting from the front windows and doors of the home.


Firefighters spray water on the remnants of the blaze on Linden Boulevard. Eagle photos by Todd Maisel
Firefighters spray water on the remnants of the blaze on Linden Boulevard.


A group of firefighters, including those from Ladder 107 who only a week before laid to rest one of their own, Firefighter Steven Pollard, was early on the scene.

Fire officials said the blaze was mostly contained in one house because there were brick walls separating the buildings, keeping the fire from spreading. It was brought under control in 40 minutes.

Sherry Hines stood in front of her burned home with her husband and children. She and her husband were at work when the fire began, and their two children were at school.

“Thank God we weren’t in there,” Hines said, but added that her dog and cat were missing and feared dead after the fire.

Fire officials said they did not know the cause of the fire, but it was under investigation due to the heavy volume of fire on arrival of the first units.

This was one of two major fires in 24 hours in this community. The other happened Monday night at 13 Schenck Ave. and went to four alarms, destroying numerous homes.

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