Retired Marine catches 3-year-old dropped from 3rd floor of burning building

by Bryan Brammer · Jul 7th, 2020 4:02 pm
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Last Updated Jul 8th, 2020 at 10:54 am

A former high school football player from Michigan on Friday saved the life of a three-year-old boy after his mother tossed him from the third-story balcony of a burning apartment building in Arizona.

Phillip Blanks, 28, who played wide receiver for Kalamazoo Central High School and is a retired U.S. Marine, made a diving catch, securing a three-year-old boy just before he struck the ground at an apartment fire in Phoenix.

Blanks, who moved to Arizona last year and is currently a bodyguard, said everything happened so fast.

"People were screaming 'there are kids up there' and to throw the kids down," Blanks said. "I saw another guy was standing there ready to catch the boy, but he didn't look like he was going to do it, so I stepped in front of him. The way I caught him damaged his foot, but the most important thing is his head was safe."

The young boy and an eight-year-old girl were both taken to the hospital. Blanks said the boy's "skin was melting off of his body" and that he "was bleeding." The children's mother died in the fire, according to a local ABC News affiliate.

Blanks said he hopes he can be involved in the children's lives and help them in any way he can.

"I would honestly like to be involved in the kids' lives because I know they had a traumatic experience and I know that their lives have changed forever," Blanks said. "In this situation, if I could use this platform to get these kids some help, that'd be great. I don't need any. I don't want any help or too much recognition for this. I just feel like I was doing my job."


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