A mother has a real reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving, after a man caught the baby she had to drop to rescue it from a burning building.
Byron Campbell, 21, was in his car in northeast Dallas when he saw smoke coming from a nearby apartment block. He raced to the scene, went inside the building, knocked on the doors and shouted at people to get out.
He then quickly exited the building and readied a mattress with other bystanders and emergency workers to provide a soft landing for people to jump out of the windows from the top floor of the three-story building.
He shouted up to Shuntara Thomas to drop her one-year-old daughter from the window. She told KXAS: “I didn’t want my daughter to lose her life. “He told me: ‘Just trust me. I got her, I got her.’ So without even thinking, I just dropped her.”
Campbell told WFAA-TV: “I just told the mom I wouldn’t drop the baby. Then she let go and I caught it. I held on like a football and didn’t let go.”
The child and her mother were treated in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Dallas Fire-Rescue. Six other people jumped from the window of the burning block, and no one was seriously injured.
The fire destroyed 24 apartments, which housed around 40 people and has since been demolished. Dallas City Council member Mark Clayton criticized the owners of the property, which was built in the early 1980s.
“I’m so sorry for the families affected by this tragedy. But I’m not surprised this happened with these owners. … This was bound to happen under their watch,” The Dallas Morning News reported him as saying.
Fire fighters in Dallas raced to the burning apartment block in the northeast of the city. Byron Campbell, 21, rescued a baby who was dropped from the burning building by her mother. Representational image, iStock
Now, forty people are without a home just hours before Thanksgiving.
Rebecca Garcia, a fire victim’s brother, told CBS: “They have nothing, not even an ID. Not a toothbrush, not a purse, not a wallet, not a present. Not a bag of dog food. Nothing,”
Meanwhile, Thomas said she was grateful to Campbell for saving her child’s life.
“Throwing my baby out to a complete stranger that I didn’t know … I do thank him because without him my child’s life would not have been saved.
“As long as I got my family, I’m good. So I may not have anything else, but it teaches me not to be thankful for the material things but to be thankful for everything that I do have,” she told KDFW.