A black firefighter who once saved his next-door neighbors from a fire is fighting back against racism he claims to have experienced from his colleagues. 

Roben Duge filed a lawsuit accusing Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) officials of demoting him because of his race, according to the New York Post. Duge said he wanted to gain experience by working at a busy firehouse, so he requested a transfer to Ladder 103 in Brooklyn.

He said Capt. Daniel Florenco had an issue with the transfer and even called his previous station to ask why they allowed it. He said Florenco told him, “You should go to the neighborhood you live in.” Duge claimed he was also denied a “front piece,” a metal plate that is placed on the front of a firefighter’s helmet to show what station they represent.

Duge also accused Florenco of lying about staffing policy to prevent him from taking time off and chastised him for taking “an extremely desirable” detail with the Counter-Terrorism Task Force.

The father of three said he was “reassigned to administrative duties driving a messenger van because he complained of how he was treated,” in the court papers.

Duge also had other foes. When Florenco tried to force him to transfer out, and he refused, Duge was met with hostility from an unnamed white senior firefighter.

“If this were back in the day, you would have been punched in the face for refusing to transfer out,” the man supposedly told him.

Even when Duge saved two children and their grandma from a fire back in March, they didn’t put some respect on his name. The New York Daily News reported Duge was walking home from work in March when he saw his next-door neighbor’s house was on fire. He didn’t have his equipment, but that didn’t stop him.

“He ran into the house, and he just pulled the kids and (the grandmother) and pulled them out," Duquan Williams, father of the children, said at the time. "Good thing he's there when it happened."

The grandmother, Linda Mitchell, believes Duge saved her life. "I live to see another day," said Mitchell. "He helped me out. And that was a blessing... He did what he had to do."

Although the people he saved considered him a hero, FDNY claimed the residents were “self-evacuating,” and Duge was merely at the door.

Despite his heroics, Duge has been driving that van for a year, according to his lawyer.

FDNY has not commented on the matter.

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