Kids Escape Brooklyn Fire By Jumping From Window

CBS 2 - December 09, 2010

by Pablo Guzmán

NEW YORK (CBS 2) - A Brooklyn father was forced to make a life and death decision Wednesday morning, as he pushed his children out of a third-floor window to save them from their burning home.

Muhammed Qasim and his wife pushed three of their children from the top window of their burning house to the second-floor ledge below, reports CBS 2's Pablo Guzman.

"When I see everything is burning, the fire is coming to me, so there was no choice," he said.

There were nine children - cousins, sisters, brothers - in the house. Aamanah Tanat, the oldest at 18 years old, was trapped upstairs.

"I was trying to go downstairs, I was trying to get out of the house, but the fire was coming up and there was no way to get out," Aamanah said. "I just - there was only one window left, and I opened it, and I just jumped out the window."

Her cousin, 10-year-old Humzah Qasim, had to be pushed.

"My dad told me, 'just go, just go, the fire is getting bigger,'" Humzah said. "My pants got stuck up there, so then I told my dad to just push me down. I got pushed down."

"That was my family, so I have to help them, you know?" Muhammed said. "If I don't throw them out from the window, so then, you know, I got to see them now, burning."

The family was given shelter at the Palm Gardens Nursing Home, as the Orthodox Jews next door to the home rushed to help their Pakistani neighbors.

Maintenance worker Israel Alers was the first to see the flames, call 911, and rush to help.

"I jump to the garage, and I pick up three kids," he said.

The fire department put up a ladder and took Muhammed and the other adults from the ledge.

One 10-year-old boy is in stable condition at Maimonides Medical Center with bruises from the fall.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the early focus of marshals seemed to be on the basement.