DETROIT – A Detroit mother was forced to drop her two young children from the second floor of their burning home before jumping herself.
The mother, Victoria Witherspoon, and the Detroit Fire Department are grateful to the two neighbors who sprung into action and caught the children as she dropped them down.
Witherspoon was upstairs in her Rosedale Park home on Aug. 14 when the fire started. She said she felt like she was being chased up the stairs by fire and black smoke that was close behind her. Witherspoon said the first thing she heard was her smoke alarm. That’s when she grabbed her 18-month-old daughter Zaria and her 3-month-old son Osiris.
Her only way out was an upstairs door that once opened to a balcony. She planned to hold her children, one in each arm, and then jump -- trying to brace the fall for her children. Her neighbors came to her rescue just in time.
Read: Neighbors catch babies as mother drops them from 2nd floor of burning home in Detroit
There were hugs, tears, and gratitude when Witherspoon and her neighbors were reunited on Thursday (Nov. 4) as the department honored the neighbors.
“A courageous mom, great neighbors and smoke detectors,” Detroit Fire Department Commissioner Eric Jones said.
Byron Boykin had just arrived home with his wife after celebrating their anniversary when they heard Witherspoon calling for help. Chris Beebe was out in his yard.
“I heard them again and saw smoke coming down the block,” Beebe said.
Both neighbors rushed into action. They didn’t hesitate and ran to catch the children as the mother dropped them down.
“Byron grabbed my legs to secure me as I brought one of the babies down. He got the other one,” Beebe said.
The neighbors didn’t know each other until the fire broke out.
“We have not met any of our neighbors. We didn’t know anyone personally,” Alunda Boykin said.
Now, they’re family.
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