Two construction workers who are also brothers are being credited with saving the lives of two children who were trapped in a burning apartment complex in New Mexico.
Mason Fierro told CNN that he and his coworkers were doing some roof work in northeastern Albuquerque on July 12 when the apartment complex next door caught fire.
Fierro heard the terrified screams of a man who was desperately trying to get a baby out of the building before it went up in flames.
“We heard the father scream — like a scream we have never heard before. When we heard that, we ran over as soon as possible,” Fierro told CNN.
While the father was initially reluctant to let go of his baby, Fierro believes that paternal instinct kicked in, and the father knew that trusting a stranger with his baby’s life was the best choice in the midst of danger.
“He dropped her. I caught her,” Fierro said. “There was no doubt in mind that I would catch her.”
The father then returned to the window with a second child, a boy that Fierro estimated was around three or four years old. Fierro was joined by his brother, Jermaine Gallien, who had also been working at the construction site that day.
Gallien and Fierro caught the preschool-aged boy as black smoke poured out of the windows. They used a ladder to help the father escape, as well.
“After we assisted that family, we went around the entire property, banging on doors and getting people out of there,” Gallien told CNN.
The brothers credited the entire construction crew for helping, some grabbing ladders and others knocking on doors to make sure residents evacuated.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue crews were on the scene within five minutes and were able to contain the fire before it spread to any other buildings.
Lt. Tom Ruiz, spokesman for the Albuquerque Fire Rescue, credited the construction workers for jumping in immediately to help.
“Those people were in dire need of rescue (and) weren’t able to wait on us,” Ruiz told CNN. “Those kids are alive because of what those construction workers did quickly and concisely.”
Ruiz reiterated that the fire department does not recommend jumping into a risky rescue situation without proper equipment.
“Those construction workers already had equipment,” Ruiz said. “They made the decision to act and that can be more commended than anything else.”
AFR reported that three people were taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation and no other injuries were reported. At the time of writing, a cause of the fire had not been determined.
Fierro is thankful his crew was in the right place at the right time that day.
“A couple seconds late, a minute late, it could have been a different story we’re telling here,” he said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.