Not everyone was in a cheery mood ahead of Thanksgiving -- not least the people who found themselves at the center of a raging fire in a Dallas building. Early on Wednesday morning, unbeknownst to the residents of a building at Meadows on Ferguson in Northeast Dallas, its hallways began to fill with smoke. Before they could figure out what was wrong, the halls were already engulfed in flames.
Shuntara Thomas, who lived on the third floor of the building with her husband and 1-year-old baby Kirsten, didn't know how to escape. They could probably break the apartment window and jump from such a height, but how could they jump with Kirsten in their hands?
Without knowing the next course of action, however, Shuntara's husband broke the window. Miraculously a stranger named Byron Campbell was standing outside with his arms out and tried to convince the mother to let go of her child, according to WFAA TV.
"It was terrifying," a tear-soaked Shuntara told reporters after Byron managed to catch the child safely.
"I didn't know if I was going to come down with her or if that would be the last time that I was holding my child."Byron said he just didn't know any other way to save the baby and trusted his instincts. He is happy Shuntara trusted him.
"She trusted me and she dropped the baby and I caught the baby," he said.
"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."Not only this, Byron and other young men from the area also quickly managed to spread mattresses on the ground, so that the jumping residents could break their fall and wouldn't get hurt. Seargent Mike Mata with Dallas Police said he has no doubts that the building fire would have led to multiple casualties had young men like Byron not been so prompt in their decision-making when they saw the building engulfed in flames.
"They worked alongside our officers and they're heroes...they stepped up and they saved lives," Mata said.
Although four people including a firefighter got injured in the fire, none of the nearly 40 residents of the building died thanks to the actions of several young men like Byron. Patrick, baby Kirsten's father who first broke the window of his third-floor apartment, got 22 stitches, but he is glad nobody suffered fatally in the fire.