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'What Mattered Was to Catch' Them

Brothers were unharmed by 33-foot fall
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2020 1:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – Two young brothers were saved from an apartment fire in the southeastern French city of Grenoble when they dropped about 33 feet from a window and were caught by people below. The two, aged 10 and 3, were unharmed by the fall Tuesday but might have suffered from smoke inhalation, French media reported. Video of the dramatic rescue showed the younger brother being dropped from at least three stories up as black smoke billowed from the window and flames engulfed an adjacent balcony. As onlookers screamed, the older brother then hung from the window and let himself fall into the arms of those below. The boys were hospitalized along with 17 residents of the building.

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Four of the people who caught the boys were also taken to the hospital to check if any bones were fractured when they caught the boys. Athoumani Walid, a 25-year-old student who suffered a broken wrist from helping catch the children, says he heard screams and went out to investigate after seeing the fire from his nearby apartment and rushed to help along with four or five other people. "We didn’t know what to do,” Walid tells the AP. "We wanted to break the door but it wasn’t possible." They then went outside and shouted for the boys to jump into their arms. Although he initially feared for the boys, "when they jumped, fear disappeared," Walid says. "What mattered was to catch” them.

(Read more France stories.)

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