Baby dropped from third floor window to escape fire and caught by stranger

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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EDMONTON - An Edmonton man made a life-saving catch Wednesday when a baby was dropped from a third-floor apartment window by the child's father when the family became trapped by a fire.
"He was able to make the catch and it was quite amazing," said Tim Wilson, spokesman for the Edmonton Fire Department.
The 21-month-old child, named Jet, was not injured and his parents also managed to escape the flames safely.
Dan Marianchuk says he wasn't sure that he would be able to catch the falling child. But he shouted encouragement to the father who appeared reluctant to let go of the baby as he held it nearly six metres off the ground.
"I just wanted to reassure him that it was the right thing to do," said Marianchuk. "I just knew that it would be a positive (outcome) because for sure I'd break his fall."
The couple had tried to escape the building in Edmonton's west end with their son, but thick smoke in the hallway forced them to retreat to their apartment.
The father attempted to throw a mattress onto the ground to provide a landing spot for the child, but he couldn't get the mattress through the balcony doors.
The boy's mother, Vanessa Machiskinic, who is five months pregnant with twins, smashed a window with a chair and saw Marianchuk on the ground below.
"We saw that he had two sons of his own, little boys, and he didn't even hesitate," she said.
"It wasn't a very tough decision. "I just knew what we had to do. I thought we were going to die."
The boy's father, Adrian Key, held the baby outside the window and dropped him into Marianchuk's arms.
"I really didn't want to drop him, but I thought we were all going to die," Key said. "I just wanted him to be safe."
There were no injuries in the fire as most residents were able to flee quickly after hearing the fire alarm. But heavy smoke made it difficult for some people living in suites above the fire to get out of the building.
After their child was safe, the couple managed to escape the burning building without injury and were reunited with their son, who had been taken to a bus to stay warm in the frigid weather.
"They assessed the situation again and they were able to make it to the stairway leading out of the building, so they went down the stairs through the smoke," said Wilson.
The fire started in a second-floor suite and took less than one hour to extinguish. The blaze is believed to have been caused by a space heater and damage is estimated at $500,000.
Fire investigator Capt. Shayne page said there was no battery in the suite's smoke detector, "so there was no early warning for them."
"What this story highlights is the importance of having an escape plan in case of a fire," said Wilson. "This family made the best decisions that they could at the time and everybody escaped."
Firefighters also rescued several cats and reunited them with worried owners waiting in a city bus outside.
Kristina Nordli, 14, only managed to grab one of her three cats when she fled. Crews eventually came out with the other two, including Baby, who had to be treated with oxygen.
"It was scary because they came out with one of my cats and she wasn't really alive," Nordli said. "Her front paws are like noodles right now."
Baby is expected to recover.

Organizations: Edmonton Fire Department

Geographic location: EDMONTON

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