MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Bystanders worked together to lower two young children to safety from a third-floor apartment in a suburban Phoenix complex where nearby units were on fire.
The rescue took place Monday in Mesa after bystanders heard Joelle Rozell, the mother of the children, scream from a balcony that her children were with her.
The family had taken refuge on the balcony because there was too much smoke and heat in a hallway leading to their apartment, fire Capt. Craig Chenery said.
Ryan Heidenreich climbed to the apartment from a second-story unit and straddled a railing while lowering the 11-month-old boy and 4-year-old girl to Christopher Sumlin on a balcony below. The children were then handed off to another man.
"He just dropped them down, and I grabbed them, handed them off to him and then it's time to go," Sumlin, 34, said.
Kevin Andrews, 24, the man at the end of three-person chain, said he felt compelled to act because he would have wanted somebody to help his child in such circumstances.
"I just happened to be there. I wanted to help the kids," Andrews said
Arriving firefighters helped Rozell make it to safety through an exterior hallway.
"I hugged every last one of them," Rozell said of the men who aided her children.
No one was injured by the fire that gutted the apartment where it started. Several other units were damaged.
The cause of the fire wasn't immediately available.