Neighbors save man as he jumps from fire

Image taken from cell phone video of Ronnie Poe hanging from the outside of his apartment building in the Bronx.

September 28, 2012 2:09:47 PM PDT
Would you jump from a third floor window? That's what Ronnie Poe had to decide as fire raged inside his apartment building.

With Poe clinging to the window ledge of his apartment for dear life, his neighbors ran around below trying to figure out how to save his life.

"I had no choice but to lean out the window and hang on as long as I could," Poe said.

Ronnie first smelled smoke in his apartment, that's when he discovered his kitchen was on fire. He tried to leave by the front door, but when he opened it flames shot out. He then had to retreat back into his apartment and into his bedroom.

With the flames getting closer, he made the only decision he could, heading straight for the window climbing right out.

He was immediately caught on cell phone video as neighbors yelled at him.

"The smoke was coming in so bad. We said jump, jump we catch you. I said you a paratrooper, jump," Alaam Thomas said.

Not afraid of heights, Ronnie was a paratrooper who made close to 50 jumps during his military career. Now at 71 and in pretty good shape, his chances were good.

"'We got you. We got you.' Waited a few more minutes, I let go and jumped," Poe said.

You see in the video he's holding onto a cable as he starts to descend, and then he let go at the last minute and fell into the arms of eight good Samaritans.

"We were just concerned about his head. Primarily, just his head. That's what we thought about. I know for certain he knew he was going to live," Thomas said.

"I'm just glad I had no broken bones," Poe said.

Clapping after the rescue, Ronnie was safe in the arms of his new best friends.

"Just hoped for the best," he said.


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