Helmet camera footage of a firefighter catching a child being thrown from a burning building in Georgia was released to the public on Sunday.
In the footage, captured in DeKalb County just outside of Atlanta by Capt. Jackie Peckrul, a desperate father throws his child to a firefighter from the third floor of a burning apartment building as people in the background can be heard screaming. Burning embers and more children were soon to follow, as firefighters positioned themselves to catch the children before they could be enveloped by the flames.
“The original plan was to get up on the balcony with them to assist them on the ladder and have somebody else bring them down. I got about halfway up and I look up and somebody was dropping a baby to me,” Peckrul recalled after the incident. The youngest child to be thrown from the engulfed apartment building and into the firefighter’s arms was reportedly only one month old.
Third-generation firefighter Capt. Scott Stroup can be seen in the footage approaching the ladder amid burning debris that has already fallen from the building. The child’s father, already on the ladder, was frantically trying to get away from the blaze while carrying his daughter, before seeing that Strout was ready to catch her. In that frantic instant, he dropped the girl to get her clear of the flames. Strout caught her just before her head hit the pavement, before turning and running through the flames to get her to safety. After a few steps, he fell to his knees, but continued forward, getting the child clear of danger before collapsing himself.
“We were catching babies like a football — literally,” DeKalb County fire Capt. Eric Jackson told the reporters. “There were adults that were on the balcony that were dropping their babies right into our arms. We had a couple firefighters catching babies, so it was just really incredible.”
When the fire was finally put out, 12 people had been injured, including eight children, but thanks to the efforts of local firefighters and the quick actions of the adults inside the building, there were no fatalities. According to reports in local outlets, some firefighters were already running into the massive blaze before hoses could even be deployed, scrambling to rescue as many people as they could as their coworkers continued to set up.
“So that just shows you the bravery and the expeditiousness of our firefighters putting life safety first before they even put any water on the fire.” Jackson said.
In total, some 79 people were rescued from the fire.
It was crazy,” one resident rescued by firefighters said. “I see people jumping off their balconies and (I hear) screams. And the screams were what really got me because it just sounded like people were getting hurt in the fire. You can hear it,” she said. “You can literally feel the screams.”
Watch the incredible footage below:
Images courtesy of YouTube