Retired Marine Catches Toddler Dropped from Burning Apartment In Dramatic Rescue

Retired Marine Catches Toddler Dropped from Burning Apartment In Dramatic Rescue

December 8, 2020 by Cathy Stack

PHOENIX — Phillip Blanks, a retired U.S. Marine and former high school star wide receiver is used to making winning catches for his team but recently he made the most important catch of his life and saved a child’s life.

The drama unfolded as Phillip was visiting a friend and suddenly heard a loud commotion coming from the upper floor of the apartment complex. He immediately ran outside, where he witnessed the unbelievable and frightening sight of the building aflame.  The fire had quickly spread as smoke and flames engulfed the third-floor apartments. On one apartment balcony stood a frantic mother, searching below for someone to help rescue her three-year-old son. Sheer desperation forced her to drop the child from the railing with hopes and prayers he would be saved. Phillip sprinted into action, diving milliseconds to miraculously catch the toddler as he fell from his mother’s hold to his awaiting arms and into safety.

“I saw the building was on fire and my instinct kicked in immediately. With no hesitation, I just ran to the baby and caught him,” Phillip recalled.

The dramatic rescue was captured on a passerby’s cell phone showing Phillip rushing toward the burning building, clearly on a rescue mission. 

When describing the moment of impact, Phillip recounted that the child landed right in his elbow making it a perfect landing. 

The apartment resident and mother of two, Rachel Long, did whatever she could in order to save her children.  Sadly, she did not survive the fire, but her courageous actions saved her young son, Jamison.  Another good Samaritan had rushed into the burning apartment and pulled her daughter out to safety before it was overcome with flames.

“I can definitely credit the Marine Corps for instilling this good training in me to save a life. I don’t see myself as a hero. A person trained to do my job is trained to protect people,” Phillip humbly added.

The child was wrapped in a warm blanket right after the rescue by Phillip and concerned neighbors.  Fire and police soon arrived on scene, and carried the children, Jamison and his 8-year-old sister to fire rescue units. They were then transported to a nearby hospital and treated for their injuries.  Thankfully both children are expected to make a full recovery.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Phillip said his thoughts are with the family and he hoped to continue to help them.  “I want to just try to get these kids as much love and attention and as they can get,” he added sincerely.

In a follow-up interview, he said the experience changed his perspective on life as it made him realize how we need to protect one another. 

PassItOn would like to celebrate Phillip Blank’s heroic action which demonstrate the value of bravery.   Please help us honor this hero by sharing this dramatic story about a stranger who raced into action, using his athletic strengths and trained skills in order to save a child’s life. 

Photo-the grateful father with his son's Hero, Phillip

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Your Comments
Yakitah Bey from Gainesville, Fl APRIL 3, 2022
Wonderful brothers are everywhere but seldom reported on for their humane contributions. As a wife of an ex marine I know the machoism that dwells inside each of them from their very stringent training. They learned to love it. They are to be highly respected. All service men are great.. just for even participating. Peace and love to you Phillip.

Lynise Tarring from Hilo, Hawai'i  MARCH 31, 2022
Thank you Phillip for listening to your heart. God Bless you for saving that childs life.

LynseyFS from Southfield, MI MARCH 31, 2022
All I can say is, "What An Unbelievable Catch!" and "Right place, right time, right person.". May God give extra blessings to the hero and the family who lost a wife and mother.

Mare McAnany from Philadelphia, PA DECEMBER 10, 2020
May life return in kind to you, dear former Marine Phillip Blanks, as your courageous heart acted without hesitation in saving this sweet child's life. We pray for more good men like you. Semper Fi, dear Marine. It is an honor to know this world we live in is blessed with a man of your faithfulness & dedication toward others.

Lynise L Tarring from Hilo, Hawai'i  DECEMBER 9, 2020
That's the joy of LOVE & FAITH. And that's a happy Christmas treasure to share. God Bless you both for listening to your heart. Amen!

Jeannine from Ohio DECEMBER 9, 2020
May the Lord bless this wonder Human being - Phillip Banks all the days of his life!

Mark A.Hill from Florida DECEMBER 9, 2020
This A Vivid Example And Description Of Who We Are As Americans

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