A hero Correction Department mechanic saved two children and an elderly woman when he ran into a neighbor's burning house and pulled everyone to safety even before the fire trucks arrived.
More than 130 firefighters responded to the three-alarm blaze on 86th St., which left two homes gutted, but no one injured.
"About 10 feet inside the door was a little boy, about 3 years old, just standing there," said Clas, a 15-year Correction Department veteran. "I grabbed him and I ran out of the front of the house."
When Clas ran back inside, he found a 4-year-old boy standing scared in the middle of the stairs, and carried him to safety as well before heading back up the stairs. "I got to the top and I could hear a woman screaming," Clas said. He found an elderly woman trying to get something out of a closet, and put his hands on her shoulders to get her to leave before it was too late.
"When I stepped out onto the landing, that was when I got scared," Clas said. "The smoke had turned black. It was like someone turned out the light."
Clas was able to find his way down the stairs and to the front door through the choking smoke.
The flames also spread to the house of the Ramroop family next door.
"Everything was lost," Neil Ramroop said.
Clas, a shop steward for the mechanics who maintain Correction Department vehicles at Rikers Island, can expect to be honored at the department's next Medal Day, a department source said.