SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There were frightening moments for a family in New Jersey.
As a fire swept through their building, a mother and father made the split-second decision to drop their 4-year-old son out a window to police below.
CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge spoke to the boy’s mother Friday morning. She returned to the scene to assess the damage. They live above the apartment where the fire is believed to have started.
As their apartment was filling with smoke, they called out the window down to police below, and their son made a literal leap of faith.
Video shows the moment 4-year-old GIovanni was caught by police officers. His parents helped him jump out their second floor window to escape.
They were trapped inside as smoke began to fill their Secaucus apartment complex on Radio Avenue Wednesday night.
“We had to think fast. We went to the back, the fire escape was not accessible – only for the third floor. So we’re like, ‘We have a 4-year-old!’ We’re speaking to the police officer and he’s like ‘Just throw him down’ and we go ‘OK!'” said Maxine Ocasio.
The 4-year-old was caught by three officers including one in plainclothes. They gave him a high five and a hug.
Video shows the fire department arriving and putting up a ladder. They were able to quickly contain the flames, and help the boy’s parents down the stairs.
Firefighters also pulled a 56-year-old woman from her main floor apartment and gave her first aid before rushing her to Saint Barnabas Medical Center.
“We hope she’s OK and that she makes it OK,” Ocasio said. “When we were running out the house, met with our son running toward the lawn, he noticed her on the floor, said she was covered in black smoke on her face and she was unconscious.”
Secaucus police say the 56-year-old suffered second and third degree burns and is in critical but stable condition.
In total, six units were damaged, but everyone made it out.
For the little boy, Giovanni, it was an experience he won’t forget.
“For him, it wasn’t that scary experience. He just felt daddy was dropping me to a police officer,” Maxine said.
The family is now staying at their in-laws. They want to thank police and firefighters for risking their lives and safety. As for the cause of the fire, it’s still under investigation.