Cops caught a 9-year-old girl who jumped from a third-story balcony to escape a burning building, a harrowing moment that turned out to have a happy ending.
The fire broke out in an apartment building in Mahwah, New Jersey. As flames shot out of windows and smoke filled the building, 9-year-old Sofya Doroshenko found herself trapped.
“Usually by the time we get there the building is evacuated, the officers are able to get everybody out, but there was no way for her to get out the front door,” Sgt. Brendan Mullin of the Mahwah Police Department told WABC-TV.
Unable to escape through doorways choked with smoke, Sofya was able to make her way to the window, where below police were telling her to jump.
“I didn’t know what to do and I just listened to them,” Sofya told WABC-TV.“I just jumped because it was no chance.”
Below, police were standing ready to catch the 9-year-old girl after her leap from the balcony.
“She was the most confident, brave little kid that I’ve ever met. She put complete faith in us and when she jumped back we caught her,” Lt. Jeff Dino said.
Sofya was one of three children home alone when the fire started in an apartment across the hall. The fire ended up destroying her family’s home along with five other homes, and several others suffered partial damage.
Video of the first also turned up on Twitter, showing flames shooting upward out of the condo’s windows.
After the incident Sofya’s mother said she was grateful to the cops who caught her daughter after the harrowing jump from the balcony.
“I want to thank them. I didn’t believe this could happen, but it happened, and thank you for saving my child,” said Yulia Doroshenko.
The story was reminiscent of another amazing rescue from a fire. Last year, two boys in Florida saved several young children from a blazing house fire. Jeremiah Grimes, 11, and Isiah Francis, 10, were playing video games and watching television at their home when they heard something outside. They went to the window and saw smoke coming out of the house next door.
Isiah ran outside and found a neighbor desperately trying to put out the flames, and the neighbor said that two young children were trapped inside the home.
Together Jeremiah and Isiah went into the home and were able to rescue a 1-year-old and an 8-month-old.
Boys rescue babies from burning home, officials say http://t.co/KKU2lZ8Csn pic.twitter.com/dkQuS5IOGK
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) June 17, 2015
In a later interview with the Associated Press, Isiah said it was difficult navigating his way through the house as it filled with thick smoke.
“It was really smoky,” Isiah said. “I could kind of see, but I had to use my sense of touch.”
Isiah later said he and Jeremiah were afraid that the children would burn up if they didn’t take immediate action, as the children’s father was not taking action.
“I was just doing it,” Jeremiah, who had been taught to call 911 in the case of a fire at school, said. “Basic instinct took over.”
It was a bit of early experience for Isiah, who said he always wanted to be a firefighter when he grows up.
“I still want to be one,” he said. “Even after they have to go through all this hard work, I still want to be one.”
The fire in Mahwah, New Jersey, had a happy ending as well. The 9-year-old girl who jumped from the balcony to escape the flames was unharmed after cops caught her. The elderly woman whose apartment first caught on fire was also able to escape without injury.
[Picture by David McNew/Getty Images]