PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A man is being credited with catching a 3-year-old who was tossed off of a balcony as his apartment unit went up in flames in Phoenix.

The fire happened on Friday, July 3, early in the morning near 19th Avenue and Dunlap Avenue.

apartment fire

Long was seen throwing her son, 3-year-old Jameson, over the balcony to save him from the fire.

Phillip Blanks was hanging out with a friend when he heard a commotion outside. Once he saw the fire, he ran outside barefoot to see how he could help. Within moments, he had a toddler in his arms.

"I just had tunnel vision on the baby and he was twirling as he was coming down and I was just fortunate to catch him," Blanks said.

The video taken by another bystander shows someone--believed to be 30-year-old Rachel Long--throwing her son, 3-year-old Jameson, over the balcony to save him from the fire. Long's family says that even though she was on fire, she went back into the apartment to save her daughter, 8-year-old Roxxie.

Roxxie was saved by another good Samaritan who broke down the door. Their mom never made it out.

Rachel Long

30-year-old Rachel Long didn't make it.

"She's the real hero in this story, not me. She had the strength and the courage to get them outside--that's powerful," Blanks said. "To be in that type of situation and still care about life, not yours, that's very strong of her. She's a warrior. She was a warrior."

Blanks said that once he caught Jameson, he ran around the parking lot looking for a place to set him down. Someone opened up their car for him. Another person laid a wet sheet on the toddler to ease his pain from the burns.

Blanks

"She's the real hero in this story, not me. She had the strength and the courage to get them outside--that's powerful," Blanks said.

"For about a minute, I was just holding him as he was screaming and I was telling him that it was going to be OK, everything's going to be OK," Blanks said.

Long's family set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical and funeral expenses.

 

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