Firefighter catches baby thrown from window at arson fire

A man was holding an infant on the third floor of an apartment building when crews arrived on scene

By FireRescue1 Staff

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A firefighter made a "once in a lifetime" catch to save a one-month-old baby during an apartment fire.

USA Today reported that Knoxville Fire Department firefighter Eric "Bo" Merritt responded to an apartment fire Sunday morning. Upon arrival, he saw several residents sticking their heads out of windows. A man holding an infant on the third floor was among those calling for help.

"Before we even got the ladders set up, I told him to drop [the baby] – and hope for the best," Merritt said. "He thought about it for a second and I guess he realized, too, that was the best option. I didn't want to take the chance of the baby staying up there."

The father dropped the newborn from the open window – about 25 to 30 feet from the ground.

"[The baby] cried a little bit, but he was fine," Merritt said. "I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Anybody with KFD would have done the same thing in that situation."

On Monday, Merritt returned to the apartment complex to be reintroduced to the baby.

"Hopefully, it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ thing and I don’t have to ever do that again. We don't train for it," Merritt said.

Investigators determined the fire was intentionally set. Two residents were treated for smoke inhalation and another for an injured ankle.


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