Mum forced to drop baby and toddler from window to escape burning apartment

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“She was holding the baby saying ‘please help, help, help’.”

When flames shot up in her apartment and thick black smoke began to emerge, this Australian mother switched to survival mode and ensured that her children were safe by throwing them out of the apartment window and into the arms of anxious neighbours below.

Dalila Awachi and her husband who lived next door were watching TV when they heard the explosion.

Her husband went outside to look, and he saw smoke rising and a woman sticking out of the window holding her newborn.

“She was holding the baby saying ‘please help, help, help’,” he told reporters.

Dalila recalled: “My husband went there and asked her to stay until we bring some mattresses and some sheets so she can throw the babies, then we called the ambulance.”

Other neighbours were quick to jump into action. They procured a sheet as well as several mattresses to cushion the children’s fall.

“She just dropped it. I knew I just had to catch the baby and it landed it my arms. I wasn't expecting her to do it,” Dalila’s husband said.

READ: Fire Safety Tips for the Family

Police said that the blaze started in the kitchen of the second-story unit and quickly spread to surrounding units in the building. They also said that the cause was likely accidental.

According to reports, the unnamed woman was taken to St George Hospital. She sustained scratches, burns and smoke inhalation, but her children were unharmed.

“She was scared more about her kids than herself, so she left herself as the last person in danger, I felt so sad for her,” Dalila’s daughter said.

Fire safety tips

  • Get out and stay out. Never run back to save your things. The national emergency hotline is 995 but it would be also good to know the number of the fire station nearest to your home.
  • Crawl low under smoke. Most fire-related deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, not by the actual fire itself.
  • Never open doors that are warm to the touch. Use the second exit, or if you are trapped, place a wet towel under the door.
  • Wave a brightly-coloured cloth or use a flashlight to signal for help from an open window.
  • Stop, drop and roll. If someone’s clothes catch fire, this is what to do to put the flames out.

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Written by

James Martinez

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