Stamford, New York Resident Unsung Hero During Fire
While working on the initial story about the fire in Stamford, New York, I came across a series of photos of a woman running towards the blaze. She was moving so quickly that the images were blurred. The bits and pieces of information I got referred to her as "Miss Remy" and said that she was helping to get people extracted from the burning buildings.
I put out a call on the Stamford Neighbors Facebook group to track her down for an interview, and she quickly got back to me. Remy Holwick is a Stamford resident who knew just what to during the fire. I'm sure she doesn't want to be referred to as a hero, but I can't think of another word for her actions.
Holwick, 42, has been coming to Stamford for seven years, and bought a home in 2022. Professionally, she is the founder of New Familiar Creative, a digital creative studio that specializes in branding. She is also a fashion model with a 20 year career.
Following is the transcript of our interview.
WZOZ: Are you currently a resident of Stamford? What is your association with the village?
Remy Holwick: I was introduced to the town about 7 years ago and have been coming frequently ever since; I bought my home here in February of 2022. I was raised in a small town so it felt like home.
WZOZ: When the fire broke out, where was your location?
Remy Holwick: I was inside of Half Acre, a restaurant owned by my close friends when the fire broke out.
WZOZ: All of the pictures I saw of you had you blurred. It looked like you were running in and out of the burning buildings. What were you doing?
Remy Holwick: I was actually running in and out of burning buildings! When the fire broke out, half of the Half Acre staff evacuated the restaurant, and the kitchen crew and I worked on helping to evacuate the apartments upstairs. One of the women working in the kitchen ran upstairs to help people out, and I was working to get immobile and disabled folks away from the fire. A lot of the running was to get medical care and blankets for disabled residents, since no one was dressed for the temperatures. In those pictures, I was running to find paramedics for an immobilized man who we had worked to move away from the fire, who was having chest pains.
WZOZ: Do you have any medical or crisis training, or were you going completely on instinct?
Remy Holwick: My stepfather was the head of the emergency department in my hometown, so we all participated in the disaster response team there – so when this happened, I just jumped in to do what I knew how to do – keep people calm, keep people warm, get people somewhere safe, get them medical attention, and find families. In a small town, when you live with the emergency doctor, you learn through osmosis. there's a lot of minor surgeries and small things happening around you all the time.
WZOZ: Have you been in touch with any of the people you helped? How are they doing?
Remy Holwick: Yes I have. The family I spent most of my time with had two members who were mobility challenged, and one who ended up going to the hospital – I followed up with them. It turns out the chest pains weren't a heart attack, and everyone is safe. But we're a small town – we all see each other so often. As soon as you walk out your door here, you're part of the community. That's something that's beautiful about Stamford – we ALL follow up with each other. We all take care of each other.
WZOZ: Are you involved at all with the recovery and aftermath post fire?
Remy Holwick: I'm working with some friends to begin organizing fundraisers – but I don't have anything live yet. We will in the coming weeks. Our own town on Maui where I grew up burned down on October 8; so one thing I know is that recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Our whole town has been donating to meet the immediate needs of those affected, but those who lost homes, jobs, and businesses will feel the effects of this for a long time. I'm focusing my energy, beyond donating now, to starting to strategize how we can have a positive impact on that long term solution, for the residents, businesses, and employees affected. So many people have lost so much. But I know when my hometown burned, the owners of Half Acre helped me fundraise to benefit our community back home. So did Catskill Outpost, and Birdsong Farms in Hamden. I want to help our community the way it stepped up for me.
I think I can speak for the residents of Stamford when I say thank you, Remy. You are one of the unsung heroes of a terrible tragedy.