A massive blaze at an apartment complex last week had crews racing to the scene to rescue several people trapped inside, including small children and a baby.
Capt. Jackie Peckrul caught a baby dropped by frantic parents from the third floor of a burning apartment building. The fire took place in Decatur, Georgia, at the Avondale Forest Apartments on Jan. 3.
When firefighters responded to the 911 call in the early hours of Jan. 3, Peckrul got out a ladder to rescue the Ragland family's eight children, but the parents acted quicker. She looked up and saw a baby wrapped in a blanket falling.
"We did what we had to do and the thing is that everybody there knew what they had to do," Peckrul, who works with DeKalb Fire and Rescue, said.
“I started going up the ladder. My plan was to actually get up on the balcony with them so that I could help them get on the ladder and have somebody else assist them down, but I got about half way up there and here comes a baby down to my arms,” Peckrul said.
"The only thing running through my mind was, 'Lord, let me catch this baby,’" Peckrul said.
Firefighters released helmet camera video of one of the rescues, where firefighter Captain Scott Stroup catches the baby's older sibling as father Lance Ragland throws his child away from the flames.
One by one, Ragland helped his family climb out of the balcony and onto the ladder. Ragland also threw his newborn twins out the window hoping that the firefighters below would catch them.
Peckrul, Stroup, and the rest of their comrades are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a number of people, including one in a wheelchair.
However, Peckrul, a mother of triplets, refuses to be crowned a hero.
“I don’t really feel like a hero,” she said. “I don’t think any of us do. It’s our job and we are so fortunate to work for DeKalb County who prides training and equipment and we have a brotherhood here and we work really well together.”
"There's no better feeling in the world," Peckrul said, about saving the lives of people and especially children. "Never want to see any parent lose a child," she added.
Miraculously, just one person suffered second-degree burns as a result of the blaze but is recovering. Apart from that none of the victims were seriously injured, thanks to Peckrul and the rest of her DeKalb Fire Station crew.
Banner/Thumbnail : Wikimedia Commons / Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht