A 35-year-old Philadelphia resident proved he would stop at nothing to ensure the safety of his physically disabled mother, even if it meant scaling a high-rise apartment complex to check on her.
According to WPVI-TV, a man identified only as Jermaine rushed to his mother’s apartment complex after his sister told him there was a fire in the building.
Philadelphia authorities had responded to the fire and told Jermaine that he was not allowed inside the building.
But anxiety and adrenaline began rushing through Jermaine’s body as he thought of his 65-year-old mother, Sheila. If the fire climbed up to her 15th-story apartment, she would not be able to escape on her own, as she was bedridden.
“They said the elevators are not working,” Jermaine told WPVI. “I said, ‘No problem. I’ll take the steps.”
He tried to explain the urgency of why he wanted to check on his mother.
“I just want to make sure my mother — my mother is sick, she’s bed-ridden. So I need to get up there,” Jermaine said. “They were like ‘we can’t let you in.'”
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So Jermaine, who has a history of adventurous climbing as a child and has worked in construction and roofing, decided to climb up the side of the high-rise building to his mother’s apartment.
“I took it upon myself because that’s my mother. There’s no limits. That’s my mother,” he said.
He was familiar with the complex because he had once lived there, and knew exactly how to reach his mother’s balcony.
Jermaine said his mother was shocked to see him standing on her balcony, and was quick to assure him that she was fine. But Sheila was not surprised by her son’s risky climb.
“She was more shocked. She’s not surprised by the things that I do for her. She knows I’ll go over and beyond for her,” Jermaine said.
Jermaine said that a fall earlier that day had left him with a painful cracked hip, but he was not concerned with the pain as he scaled the building and then back down again once he was satisfied that his mother was fine and that the fire had been contained.
“All for my mom’s safety, period. I wasn’t worried about mine at all,” he said. “She can’t get out of the bed or walk around so if there’s a fire she needs help out.”
Police were waiting on the ground as Jermaine climbed back down the building. He expected to be arrested, but instead, was met with compassion.
“He told me if I didn’t leave I was going straight to jail. Because that was his job,” Jermaine said of the police officer. “But, he actually did cut me a break. He understood the circumstances, he knew — when your adrenaline is pumping, and your mom is up there, you thinking she’s dying — you’d do anything you can.”
According to NBC, the Philadelphia Fire Department determined the fire was started as a trash fire, and smoke traveled upwards through a garbage chute.
Seven people were hospitalized after exposure to smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, but all are expected to recover.
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