Neighbors save man as he leaps to escape fire
BRONX, N.Y. (WHDH) -- Ronnie Poe, 72, took a leap of faith that saved his life.
"I was nervous, but I knew somebody was gonna catch me. I was nervous, yeah, but I had to let go anyway,” said Poe.
The 72-year-old is nursing a bruised heel, but his heart is full of praise and appreciation for longtime neighbors who stood underneath his apartment Thursday afternoon and caught him after he jumped to escape flames engulfing his kitchen.
The chaos started when he was cooking.
"I heard something say bam! I said what the hell is that? So I go in the kitchen. I see the flames that are coming from the curtain of the kitchen. then I opened the door. I shouldn’t have did that. When I opened the door, the flames said bam...I said 'oh lord!"
The flames in the kitchen continued to grow, so Ronnie ran into his bedroom, then went for the only available exit.
"I said Ronnie's hanging out the window. She said 'no. no.' my wife thought I was kidding,” said Alaam Thomas, Ronnie’s neighbor who caught him.
Thomas was among the group that scrambled to rescue their nervous neighbor and urged him to grab onto a cable wire and channel his military training from long ago.
"We all got together and just said 'jump.' and he caught onto the wire and we said 'hold onto the wire. You're a paratrooper. You can make the jump,’” said Thomas.
"Grabbed the cable wire with this hand then I grabbed it with this hand. When I came down it said 'snap snap snap snap' off the wall. That’s when I came down. That's when they caught me,” said Poe.
Most of his 2nd floor apartment is beyond repair, but he's just thankful for the helping hands that saved him.
"Thank you for saving my life. I love you. I owe you,” Poe said to his neighbors.