Off-duty Tennessee fireman catches baby dropped from third-floor

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 14, 2015 6:33 PM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - An off-duty Chattanooga firefighter who managed to catch a baby thrown from the third-floor window of a burning building said on Friday he was in the right place in the right time.

"I had to dive and actually catch the baby in my arms cause we both hit the ground at the same time," Chattanooga Fire Lieutenant Vernon Lane, 41, said at a news conference in Chattanooga.

The 15-year fire department veteran said the mother threw the baby and jumped after her 10-month-old, landing on Lane's back. She also survived without any serious injuries.

Lane, who lived in the same building as the woman at Hidden Creek Apartments when it caught fire late on Thursday night, is now being feted as a hero. But he lost most of his belongings in the fire, which took 50 firefighters one hour to extinguish.

More than a dozen families were displaced by the fire that started after 10 p.m.

Lane said he had grabbed some of his things from the burning building and put them in his truck and was in the process of returning to retrieve more when he noticed a woman hanging from a building.

"As I proceeded to the building, the baby got released from the top of the building, and I dove into the bushes to grab the baby," he said.

"I was just doing my job," said Lane. "It's my instinct to help."

(Editing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Sandra Maler)