Neighbors catch children forced to jump from window to escape apartment fire

SPOKANE, Wash. — An apartment fire forced two children to jump out of their bedroom window on Tuesday morning. When they jumped, neighbors were there to catch them.

The Spokane Fire Department responded to the fire at the Regal Ridge Apartments around 9:45 a.m. Before the fire department got there, a man heard a child screaming.

“And it kept going and going and your hairs kinda stand up,” said Trevor Main.

He ran over to the apartment building and made a startling discovery.

“There’s a little boy hanging out the window, like third story,” Main said.

A witness told 4 News Now a young girl jumped out the window, but the boy didn’t. The witness said the mother was already out of the apartment.

Main said he went upstairs and saw another person trying to get inside the apartment. He went up and down the stairs a few times. He says the mother told him her Christmas tree caught fire and her cats were also still inside. Main was able to kick the door down, risking his life to save the boy.

“He looked like he didn’t want to jump out of that window because that’s scary, and so if you can get in through the apartment and get him out that way, you have to try,” Main said. “When you can’t get in there to get to a child that’s in there, that’s probably the worst feeling.”

When he couldn’t get through the smoke, Main says he ran back downstairs. He said four other neighbors went under the window, including the boy’s mother.

“We all finally convinced him, yelling to him to jump out the window and he did,” Main described, “and we were all able to catch him and he bumped his face on the rocks pretty good, but you know as long as he’s ok that’s all we cared about.”

He told 4 News Now that he was just thankful for all who sprang into action.

“Everybody just wanted to help in a crisis situation. It was neat,” he said.

Spokane Fire says one child was sent to the hospital for injuries and is expected to be ok. The fire destroyed the family’s home and damaged four other apartments.

According to fire investigators, an open flame too close to the Christmas tree caused the fire. Spokane Fire says Christmas tree fires can be deadly.

“Christmas tree fires are not super common but when they do happen they have really lasting impacts because they are a tree, they go up incredibly quickly,” said Jamie McIntyre, with Spokane Fire.

The Spokane Fire Department has some tips to keep in mind:

  • When picking out a tree, make sure it’s fresh with green needles
  • Water it daily
  • Make sure your tree is at least 3 ft. away from any heat source such as fire places, candles or heat vents
  • Make sure it’s not blocking an exit
  • When lighting a tree, use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory
  • Turn off your tree lights before you go to bed or leave your home.

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