A former American footballer was captured on video catching a three-year-old child who was thrown from a burning building by his mother in Phoenix Arizona.
The video shot by a witness on a mobile phone was shown during an ABC broadcast and later went viral on social media.
No matter what the media tells you, Americans are still a great and caring people.— Joe E. Collins III For Congress CA-43 (@joecollins43rd) July 8, 2020
Here is the moment earlier this week when a US Marine & former football player named Phillip Blanks saves a child from a burning building. pic.twitter.com/NRVRnDRDvk
After the incident Philip Blanks, 28, who is also a retired marine told ABC that the boy named Jameson Long, was “twirling through the air like a propeller” but “luckily I know how to catch.”
“There wasn’t much thinking. I just reacted. I just did it,” he said.
"I just did my best. His head landed perfectly on my elbow. His ankle got twisted up as I was diving. The guy who was there with me - it looked like he wasn't going to catch him. So that's why I stepped in.
"I just wanted to make a better catch."
The toddler’s mother, Rachel Long, 30, didn’t survive the blaze while her other child - eight year old daughter - and Jameson were taken to hospital with critical injuries.
Blanks, who now works in the security industry told ABC, ”She’s the real hero of the story because she made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children.”
A Go Fund Me page has since been set up for the family and has raised $53,342 so far.
The fundraiser says “Rachel was able to make it to the balcony, where she dropped her son, Jameson, to neighbors waiting below. Eyewitnesses stated that Rachel was on fire at that time, but rather than jumping herself to safety, she went back in for her daughter Roxanne and sadly, did not return.”
A passerby managed to save Roxanne by kicking in the door.
“Rachel, 30, was a mother, a wife, a sister, daughter, and granddaughter. She was a beautiful, spirited young woman who always lived life fully and on her own terms. She was the light of her daddy’s life. She is truly a hero. She made the ultimate sacrifice for her children,” a statement on the Go Fund Me page read.
The fire started on the morning of July 3 and up to 100 firefighters were called to the scene. The cause of the fire is still unknown.