A former Marine and college wide receiver was able to catch a three-year-old boy thrown from burning building by his mother, dramatic cellphone footage shows.
Phillip Blanks, 28, ran to the home in Phoenix on July 3 barefoot after hearing calls for help and was able to save Jameson Long from the flames on the third floor balcony.
He told ABC it was all ‘instinct’, adding: ‘There wasn’t much thinking. I just reacted. I just did it.’
Jameson’s 30-year-old mother, Rachel Long, died in the blaze. Blanks said: ‘She’s the real hero of the story because she made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children.’
Blanks, who now works in the security industry, was a former wide receiver at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
He said Jameson was ‘twirling in the air like a propeller’ as he fell.
‘I just did my best. His head landed perfectly on my elbow’, he added, ‘I know how to catch. I’ve learned how to catch a football. So I’ll give some credit to football.’
Blanks said: ‘I can definitely credit to the Marine Corps for instilling this good training in me to save a life. I don’t see myself as a hero. A person trained to do my job is trained to protect people.’
Jameson and his eight-year-old sister were taken to hospital with burns, along with another woman, but are expected to survive.
A GoFundMe for the Long family has since raised more than $19,000. That states: ‘Rachel was able to make it to the balcony, where she dropped her son, Jameson, to neighbors waiting below.
‘Eyewitnesses stated that Rachel was on fire at that time, but rather than jumping herself to safety, she went back in for her daughter Roxanne and sadly, did not return. Reports say a passerby kicked in the door of an already engulfed apartment and heroically saved Roxxi.
‘Rachel, 30, was a mother, a wife, a sister, daughter, and granddaughter. She was a beautiful, spirited young woman who always lived life fully and on her own terms. She was the light of her daddy’s life. She is truly a hero. She made the ultimate sacrifice for her children.
‘Corey, her husband, has no home now and both children are currently hospitalized. He is facing costs of at least 8 surgeries for Roxxi. Please contribute if you feel led to help the Long family in these horrific times. They need our prayers and our finances.’
The clip begins showing the raging fire on the third floor balcony of the home.
Blanks runs into shot as the boy is thrown from the apartment. He dives to the ground and manages to catch the youngster just before he hits the ground.
He then runs from the scene with the child in his arms.
Onlookers are heard urging his mom to safety.
Up to 100 firefighters were called to battle the flames Friday morning.
Neighbor Juanita Williams told ABC15: ‘She threw the second child over the balcony.
‘She was burning but she just didn’t make it out. She was a good mother she did everything. go to the pool every week, every weekend, doing stuff with their kids.’
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Author: Lauren Fruen