A firefighter who has been serving the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department for 17 years saved a toddler last week from what could've been a 20-feet fall from a burning building.
ABC 7 News reported that the fireman, Jared McKinney, was regarded as a hero for safely catching a two-year-old infant who was dropped from a window by his father. The father was trying to save his child from the burning apartment building. The fire took place on Sunday, May 29, at a two-story apartment on 700 Block Alabama Avenue in Washington, D.C.
Firefighter Experiences A First In 17-Year Experience
McKinney, a member of the department's Engine 25, recounted to NBC Washington that the incident involved a difficult situation because it was dark since it happened before 10 p.m. The fireman said he could see the front door of the apartment was filled with black smoke. He looked up and saw the father hanging out the toddler-wearing a T-shirt and diaper but barefoot--from outside the window before asking him to catch his child.
The Washington Post highlighted that the father yelled at McKinney to get his baby and urged him not to drop the child. The fireman said the father waited for him to respond positively before letting the child go.
"Everything happened so fast I didn't have time to get nervous it was more so I had a job that had to get done and I executed it to the best of my ability," McKinney said.
In an interview with WTOP News, McKinney disclosed that every fire ground he's encountered in his years of service was different. He stressed that this was the first time he has caught a child during a fire. He emphasized that it was not an easy task, especially since the child was dropped feet first. He said he had to find a way of preventing being kicked in the face while securing the child from being hurt by the fall.
A Firefighter's Father Instincts Come To Play
McKinney narrated that he had to extend his arms when the toddler was dropped from the window and caught by the armpits. McKinney cradled the child to his body as soon as he had him in his arms. The veteran firefighter immediately comforted the child by telling him to stay with him coupled with the assurance that "everything would be OK."
The firefighter then moved a safe distance away from the flames before setting the child down on the ground. He added that the toddler was calm all throughout that time. It did not take long for the rest of the family to be brought out of the building and the toddler was returned to them. No one was reported hurt or hospitalized from the incident.
Throughout that time, McKinney said the only thing going on repeatedly in his mind was to catch the child safely.
"The only thing that was going through my mind was make sure you secure the catch. Just make sure I secured the catch with the kid," McKinney revealed.
McKinney explained being a father makes one naturally desire to protect one's children. He recalled seeing that in the face of the toddler's father when he made the drop. He understood that the father only wanted to get his family as quickly as possible to safety by whatever means necessary. The flames were spreading quickly then and the father was left with little recourse except that.
"I was just glad I was there to help him," McKinney stressed.
A similar incident that took place at the beginning of the year involving a Bronx apartment was not as fortunate, however. ABC News said the fire involved a 120-unit 1970s apartment building that left 19 people dead including nine children. The building's malfunctioned heater from a lower-floor unit caused the fire, which pushed residents to break windows in attempts to escape.
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