By Dave Carlin

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An 8-year-old girl was badly injured Wednesday after leaping from the sixth floor of a Bronx apartment building to escape a fire.

Video taken from the sixth-floor hallway looking into Apartment 6G shows everything you see charred, out to the balcony, which became 8-year-old Mahogany McBride’s only escape from flames.

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Family friends say the fire, with the cause so far unknown, started around 6 p.m. Wednesday in the 17-story Fulton Terrace Apartments on East 169th Street in Morrisania.

They say the mother is out of town, and the girl was being watched by an aunt.

Witnesses place the aunt out in the hall, and the girl out on the balcony, fire raging in between.

Mahogany jumped, landing some 60 feet below, and survived.

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“Six stories? How? Thank God that she’s alive,” Morrisania resident Lavelle Tingman said.

Firefighters said she was forced into this terrible decision because the fire was so close. She was going to jump, but she had one more decision to make.

“She landed on the dirt. I think she was aware enough to aim for the dirt and not the pavement,” FDNY Deputy Chief Anthony Montera said.

A crowd formed around the injured girl after she jumped.

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Among them was former classmate Darian Alvarez, who lives in the same building. She briefly talked to her friend before paramedics came.

“I was like, ‘Mahogany, are you OK?’ But she was just crying,” he said. “People was like, no, Mahogany, stay there, hon, you stay there, stay there.”

She says she saw the aunt taken away in an ambulance.

Mahogany went to Harlem Hospital with both legs crushed, facing what is expected to be a lengthy recovery.

“She’s braver than me because I don’t think I would jump,” Morrisania resident Gloria Jones said.

About 100 firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.

Smoke damage and water damage are keeping many residents away as clean up crews mop and scrub.

There is anguish, but mostly amazement that a brave girl did what was desperately necessary and recovers so she one day tells her amazing story.

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Seven firefighters and one other building resident suffered minor injuries.

Dave Carlin