DECATUR, Ga. (AP/CNN/WNCN) — More than 45 firefighters battled a big apartment blaze near Atlanta before dawn earlier this month saying they had to kick down doors and catch babies to get them safely away from the smoke and flames.
The fire on Jan. 3 left a dozen people with minor injuries, mostly related to smoke inhalation, said DeKalb County Fire Rescue Capt. Eric Jackson. He identified those hurt as four adults and eight children.
Last week, video emerged of Capt. Jackie Peckrul catching a baby tossed from a balcony. Now, new video has been made public that shows the amazing incident in more detail.
“We did what we had to do, and the thing is that everybody there knew what they had to do,” said Peckrul of DeKalb Fire and Rescue.
Jackson told WSB-TV that firefighters had to smash through doors to help some out.
“I don’t really feel like a hero. 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,” Peckrul said.
“I couldn’t be anything else. And it makes me a better mom, and being a mom probably makes me a better firefighter.”
Occupants inside were “literally dropping their children down to our firefighters and we were catching them, and that was before we put any water on the fire,” Jackson told reporters.
“We had fire burning on one end of the building and residents on the other end didn’t have a clue,” he told reporters at the scene in an interview posted on the fire department’s Instagram page. “So we were doing multiple things. We were catching babies; we were kicking in doors, letting folks know they needed to get out.”
The fire had grown since fire crews first arrived but firefighters were gaining control of it, Jackson said.
“The fire had a little bit of a head start on us, unfortunately,” Jackson said.
The cause wasn’t immediately known.
The building, which includes about 20 units, is just northeast of Atlanta.
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