There’s nothing more terrifying than imagining yourself trapped in a burning building, unable to escape … until you imagine being trapped in there with your children.
According to multiple news sources, that’s exactly what happened in Phoenix, Arizona, last week. A mother and her two children were in a third-story apartment when flames presumably rendered the exits inoperable, forcing the woman to the balcony. Bystanders encouraged her to throw her baby from the balcony and when she did, 28-year-old Marine turned security guard Phillip Blanks sprinted in, dove and caught the boy milliseconds before he would have hit the ground.
WATCH: When a 3-year-old boy was dropped from the third story of a burning building in Arizona, a former football player dove to catch him. That man was Phillip Blanks, a retired U.S. Marine, who saved the boy just before he hit the ground. pic.twitter.com/Hnq51iNu0E
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 9, 2020
According to the Washington Post, Blanks said his time in the Marines, coupled with his athletic training as a wide receiver in high school and college, prepared him for this moment. The Marines taught him to “always be on high alert, not be complacent and to have discipline,” he said.
This article originally appeared on We Are The Mighty