Twin infants were saved from a quick-moving fire when they dropped into the arms of a man waiting below the window of their burning apartment in the Bronx. Vivian Lee filed the following report.
Everdean Codner wasn't sure either of his twin boys, Israel and Ishmael, would make it early Wednesday morning.
That's after panic seized him when smoke blinded and choked him as he frantically tried to escape with his 11-month old twins from their third floor apartment on East 220th Street in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx on Wednesday morning.
A fast moving fire had already forced other residents to run for their lives, including Jermaine Shirley and his wife and child.
But Codner couldn't find his way out. When Shirley heard Codner's screams for help from the back of the building, he looked up to see Codner and his boys in the top floor window.
“It was too far to catch a baby from there, so then I hopped on top of there to catch the baby, the nephew came down and held that baby while I jumped down, catch one of the baby put him on there, and then grabbed the other one and went out to the front,” said Shirley.
Shirley, a mailman just ten days on the job, said there was no doubt what had to be done when he heard Codner yelling.
“I have a kid too. So I have to do what I have to do. I'm helping him, I would want someone to help me too,” he said.
“I'm very proud of my husband,” his wife, Shellyann Fraser Shirley, said. “He's the one that came back in and banged on everybody's door. ‘Get out, get out. Fire! Fire!’”
One of the twin boys, Ishmeal, suffered only a scratch on his forehead. Two other people suffered minor injuries and were taken to Jacobi Medical Center. Codner said he's forever grateful for his neighbor for hearing him and springing into action.
“If Jermaine wasn't there, I don't know how today would have turned out for me,” he said.
When asked if he was happy his twins were safe and sound, he said, “Aw man, feels better than winning the lottery, it do. I get a second chance with them. You know?”
Shirley spent the rest of the day gathering personal items for his family as he and other residents were told they couldn't return for some time.
And he had to explain to his boss why he was so late for work, but given the circumstances, he and his wife both thought he'd be forgiven.