A gentleman is being lauded for his bravery after he helped police officers rescue two young children during an apartment complex fire in Arizona.
The fire began around 11 a.m. on a Friday morning in Mesa. Witnesses had told a police officer on the scene that there were children inside the burning apartment. Bodycam footage released by the police showed the officer throwing rocks to break through the apartment window.
Moments later, an unidentified man wearing a black hoodie appears and jumps over the fence to get to the broken window on the second-floor apartment. Officials said that he saw the fire from a nearby car wash and abandoned his vehicle to help with the rescue.
Standing on an air condition unit, the man ripped out the window’s frame with his bare hands. As smoke billowed out around him, he hoisted himself inside to retrieve a 2-year-old girl wearing only a diaper. The toddler could be heard crying as she was taken outside.
The Good Samaritan handed her over to an officer waiting on the ground. With the baby in his arms, the officer rushed to the front of the apartment and carried her to the paramedics waiting outside.
“There’s so much smoke in there that if you pass out, it could be deadly, obviously,” Jon Forrest of the Mesa Police Department said. “For that civilian to be so courageous (and) jump up there – he saved two kids’ lives today.”
A video from another officer’s body camera showed the unnamed man handing off a second child, reportedly six years old. Officer Jon Forest jumped up onto a shed to grab the child from the man.
“Property and stuff, that can burn, but somebody’s life? We will risk a lot to save. Every other officer I work with, they’d do the same thing. They’d jump up on the shed. They are willing to do what they can to save someone’s life,” he said.
“According to all who were there, it if wasn’t for the citizen who assisted, the outcome of this incident may have been different,” the police said in a statement.
Police said the man didn’t want to be identified but said he only wanted to help rescue the children if he could, going “above and beyond to assist in getting these children to safety. He put his life on the line for these children.”
“Being there, seeing all the chaos, and hearing people screaming, was a very intense situation,” said Officer Brandon Ciprien. “Teamwork gets the job done. You can count on anyone, fire, police, or regular civilians to help you out.”
An overhead video from the scene showed several emergency vehicles and crews on the roof attempting to extinguish a fire in a unit underneath.
Ladder crews were able to put out the fire from the roof, preventing it from damaging other apartments.
“Hats off to the citizen who was back there. He was at the car wash minding his own business, recognized there was a fire back there, jumped the wall, left the car at the car wash and really did an outstanding job today and really saved two kids’ lives,” said Chad Serchen of the Mesa Police Department.
Over 50 police officers and firefighters responded to the first-alarm fire.
The kids were taken to a hospital and were treated for smoke inhalation. They are expected to make a full recovery. Four officers were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries and were eventually released.
Four apartments were damaged in the fire, and authorities are still investigating what caused it. Thankfully, no other injuries were reported.
Kudos to this man for springing into action to save the little girls. He’s a real hero! See the dramatic rescue in the video below.