A fire broke out at a unit on the third floor of an apartment building near Dunlap and 19th avenues. In the unit, was a mother, 30-year-old Rachel, and her two little children, an 8-year-old girl, and a 3-year-old boy.
Neighbors quickly responded to the woman’s cry for help. Rachel’s husband, Jason Long, was at work when the fire broke out.
Leonard Thompson, one of the neighbors, was among the first to get to the scene. He explains that he heard Rachel screaming when they kicked in the door, so he just ran and grabbed the 8-year old and dragged her out, though she had sustained severe burns.
As he ran back to help the mother and the other child, he couldn’t believe the scene.
Juanita Williams, another neighbor, was shaking as she narrated the scene. “She was burning. I saw her in flames from head to toe,” she said of Rachel. But even when engulfed in flames, the desperate mother managed to move to the window to throw her child over the balcony to a waiting man.
From a video by one of the neighbors, a woman can be seen throwing a child off the burning third-floor building’s balcony. There is a man in a grey t-shirt waiting to catch the child.
But when Rachel flung her toddler off the apartment with the hope that she survives the fire, she wasn’t aware of the act’s danger. Luckily, Philip Blanks was around, and he saved the child from instant death.
WATCH: Marine catches 3-year-old dropped from burning apartment in Phoenix https://t.co/xfRJCjOUqt
— WWL-TV (@WWLTV) July 8, 2020
From the video, Philip, in a red t-shirt, was seen running towards the flung child and caught her just in time before he hit the ground. The child landed on his elbow, which made it a perfect soft landing.
The 3-year-old had also sustained burns, but the injuries weren’t life-threatening.
Philip Blanks credits his quick action to his military training and instinct. He is a former US marine and was a Kalamazoo Central High School football player. A combination of all those skills helped save the situation.
Unfortunately, Rachel did not make it, according to the police report. However, her children are in stable condition. Though the burns were severe, they aren’t life-threatening, and the children are recovering in the neighborhood hospital.
Jason Long has since spoken to news channels on the incident and shared a photo of his family before the incident.