Watch CBS News

Dramatic video shows 3-year-old dropped out window to escape fire in South Brunswick, N.J.

Dramatic video shows child dropped out window to escape fire in South Brunswick, N.J. 02:12

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- A small child was tossed out a window to escape a fire on Monday in New Jersey.

Heart-pounding video shows frantic first responders with their arms outstretched trying to rescue a 3-year-old boy and his father from a raging apartment blaze.

You can see debris raining down as the father clears a path out the window. He tosses his terrified child out, before diving head first, himself, from the second floor.

"You see a child, it just cranks up the adrenaline," South Brunswick Police Det. Sgt. John Penney said.

Penney was one of three South Brunswick police officers, along with Kendall Park's fire chief, who ran over to catch the father and son. They told CBS2's Christina Fan there was no plan, no coordination, just an innate duty to help a distressed father who was running out of time.

"It was emotional. Obviously, the kid was terrified," South Brunswick Sgt. William Merkler said.

"The situation was deteriorating quite quickly. The smoke was pouring out above him. I can still envision that," Penney added.

The fire started at the Southridge Woods Apartment Complex just after 8 a.m. Body camera video shows the overpowering smoke that stopped officers at the door of the father's home.

Firefighters said it was a miracle that he and his son navigated through the suffocating darkness to get to the window.

"To get your wits about you like that? I'm sure he was asleep. To wake up to something like that, it was a good job by him, definitely save his child," Kendall Park Fire Chief Chris Perez said.

The little boy's mother declined to speak Monday afternoon, but the toddler appeared to be in better spirits, comforted by a stuffed bear.

"This is what we signed up for. This is the exciting part of the job. We want to be able to help people and do the right thing," South Brunswick Officer Ryan Bartunek said.

First responders say seeing the father and son OK is all the thanks they need.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.