Amazing rescue in 3-alarm Linden fire

Toni Yates with the report from Linden, NJ.
March 28, 2014 3:03:46 PM PDT
Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

A lot of thanks is going around after what could have been a tragedy in Linden turned into an heroic rescue.

"How did you get down?" Eyewitness News asked.

"The ladder," said Jaiden, 4 years old.

Jaiden is alive because of Jeremy. He and his singing group had just finished rehearsing in their first floor studio and were headed out for food, when fire erupted in Jaiden's family's upstairs apartment and quickly spread.

As people poured from the burning building, 19-year-old Jeremy Stathum spotted the child on the back balcony, crying, and raced up the fire escape to get him.

"I just told him to come to me and he did, he didn't hesitate, he ran right to me, cute kid," Stathum said.

At the same time, Jaiden's dad was on a bus headed home when he got text from his wife saying the home was on fire.

Daniel Gonzalez says as he approached the home and was shocked.

"That's when I saw all the lights. I said it's true, I can't believe it. I thought they would all die," Gonzalez said.

This fire raced across the second floor apartments very quickly, before anyone on the first floor knew. Jeremy first heard something.

"I heard a little boy crying on the ledge. I looked up and it was something I had never seen before, fire shooting out the door," Stathum said.

Literally, 4-year-old Jaiden had gotten separated from his mom and two sisters, but made it out to the back fire escape.

"The first instinct is to get the child. I just went upstairs and grabbed him," Stathum said.

"I skipped 8 stairs to get him to safety," said Tamill Robinson, a Roselle resident.

No one was injured, not the children or the members of this gospel group who had been in a first floor studio rehearsing. Thanks to these young men, Daniel Gonzalez has his son.

"I just picked him, told him 'I love you,'" Gonzalez said.

The fire damaged some of the group's equipment, but none of their faith or talent.

"I'm proud of him. He's a blessing to the family and neighborhood," said Michael Stathum, Jeremy's father.

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