ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — A man caught a 3-year-old girl whose mother dropped her out of a second-floor window to save her from a fire at an apartment building in north St. Louis.
As smoke filled the hallways of his apartment unit at the Hillvale Apartment complex on Monday morning, Arnez Merriweather ran outside to help his fellow residents.
A family on the second floor was also trying to escape the building.
The smoke was too thick for Merriweather to run back inside, so he encouraged the mother to drop her 3-year-old into his arms. Merriweather safely caught the girl and then grabbed the child’s mother as she climbed out of the second-floor window.
“She jumped, and I grabbed her,” said Merriweather.
He said the child’s grandmother was next to come out. She climbed out of the second-floor window as he grabbed her, and the two fell to the ground. The family was transported to an area hospital and is expected to be OK.
After the rescue, Merriweather said he and others grabbed nearby maintenance ladders and helped several more residents to safety.
“It’s just really heartening to see in a time where folks are really concerned about clicks, likes and follows that instead of capturing footage, this young man actually went into action to help his neighbors,” said Capt. Garon Mosby, of the St. Louis Fire Department.
Merriweather credits meditation and jogging for his ability to stay calm under fire. He said, “I’m just glad everybody is okay. The clothes and material stuff you can replace.”
The American Red Cross is assisting families displaced by the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Mosby said the fire started in units that were not occupied but caused damage in other units where residents were living.