ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A mother and her 11-day-old infant were taken to the hospital following a fire in an apartment complex in the 2500 block of Hodiamont avenue Wednesday,.
Fire personnel have determined the fire was contained to a single unit, but residents say the smoke was so thick, they could not make it into the hallway to escape.
In an effort to escape the building, second-story residents had to jump from their window. According to officials, a mother and her 11-day-old infant were trapped on the second floor, when residents who were already outside came to her aid.
Witnesses say the mother was panicking, fearing she could not get her child to safety.
“She couldn’t raise it up to get her baby out the window,” said Kenya Bush. “She was so scared to drop her baby.”
Residents crowded below the window and a group of young men came to her aid, let by young resident Cornell Williams.
“I told her to toss the baby down, and then we caught her.” Williams said he didn't do it alone. According to him, he and another man formed a net with their arms, and called for the mother to drop her child down to them.
“There was another man," Williams said. "So me and him had our hands together to catch the baby, basically so the baby wouldn’t drop.”
After some hesitation, the mother dropped the child, and Williams and the others caught the baby. The mother jumped afterwards and sprained her ankle but is said to be doing find otherwise.
The infant was taken to the hospital with his mother to be checked out, but is believed to be completely healthy.
Many other residents fled the building quickly and left their coats behind. The Red Cross is on the scene and offering blankets and warm drinks to residents left outside.
The fire was contained just before 5:30 p.m., and residents are expected to be able to enter the building Wednesday night.
Williams says he’s humbled to be called a hero.
"I just feel good for myself," he said. "I’m proud for helping others."