Boston firefighter recalls catch of a lifetime

A Boston firefighter made an amazing catch early Monday morning, saving the life of a 6-year-old boy who was trapped inside a burning three-story apartment building in the city's Roxbury section.

Firefighter Saves Boy In 3-Story Drop From Burning Roxbury Home

The boy, Xavier, was among 20 people clamoring for help when firefighters arrived on the scene, Jonathan Elias of CBS Boston station WBZ-TV reported.

Xavier's grandmother, Judith Lamb, who was also trapped on the third floor when the fire broke out, said, "My grandson came and I put him between me, and I began to scream, asking someone because I wanted to drop my grandson out."

Lamb straddled the window and got ready to drop the boy.

That's when Boston Fire Lt. Glenn McGillivray rounded the corner and saw Xavier. McGillivray said, "He was dangling and I knew she wouldn't be able to hold him forever until we could get a rescue off a ladder."

On "The Early Show," McGillivray added, "(Xavier) was really flailing, moving his other arm and his legs, and I turned around to see if our ground ladder was going to be quick enough to get situated for him. ... I realized that I didn't think we had the time. So at that point, I told her not to drop him until I moved underneath, to then be able to at least break his fall when she let go."

Lamb, thinking she and the others were going to die, dropped her grandson.

McGillivray said, "So I just positioned myself, looked up, told her to let go, and she dropped him and, thank God, he landed right in my arms."

Judith Lamb said, "I didn't want to let him go, I was just praying to God, 'Please don't drop him, don't miss the catch.' He didn't miss the catch. He caught him."

McGillivray said, "(That was the) first time I had to make a rescue like that, and I hope it's the last time I have to make a rescue like that!"

Xavier Lara told a reporter, "I was Superman."

The reporter said, "You were thinking you were Superman flying out of the building."

Xavier said, "Yeah."

McGillivray said on the night of the fire he introduced himself to the boy. Recalling the story on "The Early Show," McGillivray said, "I told (Xavier) my name. I asked him his name. I shook his hand. I told him that I was glad he was safe and sound and that we were able to successfully get him down. And I just gave him a quick kiss on the head and just went back to my job."

McGillivray said he's looking forward to talking with Xavier and his family soon.