A D.C. firefighter, who caught a toddler thrown from the second-story window of a burning apartment on Sunday, said he was glad he and his colleagues managed to do their jobs to the best of their ability during the rescue.
Narrating the incident in an interview with WTOP, wagon driver for Engine Co. 25, Jared McKinney, said the child’s father held the minor out of the burning apartment’s window. “He told me … ‘catch my child, don’t drop him,’ and he dropped the child down, and I caught the child,” McKinney recalled.
The child’s father, mother, and another minor were also eventually rescued after an extension ladder was positioned at the apartment’s second-floor window. “Every fire ground is different,” McKinney said, adding that this is the first time in his 17-year career that he caught a child from a building on fire.
“When he dropped the child down, I extended my arms, and when I felt the child made contact, I just cradled the child to my body,” he recalled.
Although that may have sounded like a straightforward catch, it actually wasn’t. McKinney had to prevent being struck in the face as the minor was thrown from the building with his feet down, WTOP reported.
“I told him to stay right here with me and everything would be OK,” McKinney recalled. “By that time we had the rest of his family down, and we could return him to his family.”
No injuries were sustained from the fire. McKinney also said the rescue mission was part of a night on the job. “I’m just happy that we were here to do our job and do it to the best of our ability and make sure that everybody was able to safely go home,” he said.
McKinney is following in the footsteps of his father Jackie McKinney. The older McKinney similarly served as a wagon driver for Engine Co. 25 for 31 years. He retired in 2016.