Retired Marine Dives for Child Thrown Off Balcony

But Phillip Blanks says he wasn't 'the real hero'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2020 9:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – A former high school football star dove and caught a child who was dropped from a burning building last week, the Washington Post reports. Phillip Blanks, 28, was at his friend's apartment in Phoenix when he heard shouting and ran outside. Then he saw a woman—identified by 12NEWS as Rachel Long—holding her 3-year-old boy as a fire raged behind her. "People started yelling for the lady to throw her kids down," says Blanks, a retired marine who got "tunnel vision" when the child was dropped. "He helicoptered around before he fell. His torso landed right in my elbow. ... So, it was a perfect landing." Long went back inside to find her 8-year-old daughter and never re-emerged.

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But another hero emerged amid the chaos last Friday. "I heard someone scream for help and I found the girl on the floor and carried her outside," says D'Artagnan Alexander, 42. "Everything happened so fast. I didn't have time to think, my body just kicked into action and I went in." Both children are hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, and a GoFundMe page has been created to help the family pay expenses. Blanks and Alexander also met with the children's father, who declined to talk to the press, saying he needed more time. "It was very emotional," says Blanks. "We became family, all three of us." Blanks, now a body guard, calls Long "the real hero" that day. "She made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children," he tells ABC7.

(Read more heroes stories.)

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