Good Samaritans Helped Family Escape Apartment Fire: Miami Fire Rescue

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013  |  Updated 10:29 PM EDT
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Good Samaritans helped a trapped family climb out of their second-story window to escape a fire in their Miami apartment Tuesday night, authorities said. Tommy Leverson, who responded to the mother’s screams, spoke about how he helped rescue her children. A neighbor who wanted to go by the name Ant said the woman was hanging halfway out her window while she was screaming for help.

Good Samaritans helped a trapped family climb out of their second-story window to escape a fire in their Miami apartment Tuesday night, authorities said. Tommy Leverson, who responded to the mother’s screams, spoke about how he helped rescue her children. A neighbor who wanted to go by the name Ant said the woman was hanging halfway out her window while she was screaming for help.

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Good Samaritans Helped Family Escape Apartment Fire: Miami Fire Rescue

Good Samaritans helped a trapped family climb out of their second-story window to escape a fire in their Miami apartment Tuesday night, authorities said.
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Good Samaritans helped a trapped family climb out of their second-story window to escape a fire in their Miami apartment Tuesday night, authorities said.

Miami Fire Rescue responded to the fire at 1955 Northwest 2nd Court just before 9:30 p.m., agency spokesman Lt. Ignatius Carroll said.

The mother, two children ages 4 and 6 and the mother’s friend were inside the apartment when a fire started on the couch. The mother screamed for help outside the second-story window, and the Good Samaritans helped the family get out and helped to extinguish the flames, Carroll said.

"She said, 'Sir, please help me, my house is on fire,'" said Tommy Leverson, who responded to the mother's screams.

A neighbor who wanted to go by the name Ant said the woman was hanging halfway out her window while she was screaming for help.

"When I came back to the front door, everything over here was pretty much smoked out," he said. "You couldn't see nothing."

Around the corner, Leverson raced across the street from the laundromat to help. In seconds, he said he knew he had to ask that mother to make a difficult decision – to drop her kids to safety.

"I was gonna do whatever it takes to get those kids and that family out that house," Leverson said.

A second stranger stood by Leverson, both on the back of a truck to get closer to the window, to catch the children. The mother dropped the kids and then jumped herself to safety.

While officials have not released an official cause for the fire, neighbors said the family had been locked inside the house by a man identified as Raymond Lamar Johnson, whose record includes armed sexual battery and kidnapping.

"I see him, like, shooting down that alley," Ant said. "And I didn't think nothing of it."

Meanwhile, the mother and children remain unharmed with family members as groundskeepers clear out their burned belongings, which included the couch.

Leverson said he was happy he was in the right place at the right time.

"It was just a matter of God I just walked to my van, and I just heard (the screams)," he said.

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