Heroic teens save family from Phoenix apartment fire - CBS 5 - KPHO

Heroic teens save family from Phoenix apartment fire

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Justin Rose, left, and John Gallup helped catch the mother and her two children from their second-story apartment. (Source: CBS 5 News) Justin Rose, left, and John Gallup helped catch the mother and her two children from their second-story apartment. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Caitlin Bildilli, left, and Allana Gallup took the two children to a nearby park while firefighters fought the fire. (Source: CBS 5 News) Caitlin Bildilli, left, and Allana Gallup took the two children to a nearby park while firefighters fought the fire. (Source: CBS 5 News)
The fire destroyed six of eight units in the complex. The family was trapped on the second floor. (Source: CBS 5 News) The fire destroyed six of eight units in the complex. The family was trapped on the second floor. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

They were spending the evening cooling off with a late-night swim in a nearby pool, but Wednesday night turned out to be anything but routine for a group of teens who helped save a mother and her two children trapped in an apartment fire.

The teens were swimming just before midnight when they said they saw smoke billowing from the top of a two-story complex about 150 feet away near 7th Street and Bell Road.

Their curiosity heightened when they heard a woman scream.

"We ran over to see what was going one, and by the time we got there the fire was getting pretty bad," Justin Rose said. "Then we see a lady open a window and screaming, 'Help! Help me!'"

Rose and his cousin, John Gallup, ran to the complex and told the woman to drop her children to them.

"We said, 'We will catch you. Trust us,'" Rose said.

The woman dropped her 3-year-old son first, and then her 6-year-old daughter. Rose and his cousin handed the kids to John's sister, Allana Gallup, and Caitlin Bildilli.

Then, the woman began throwing down some of her personal belongings, Rose said, including a laptop, cell phone and other personal belongings.

She surprised the teens when she suddenly jumped, but John Gallup said he was able to grab her upper body and cushioned her fall. She suffered a minor scrape to her knee.

Phoenix Fire Battalion Chief Mike Sandulak said six of the eight units in the complex were destroyed by the fire.

He said it was lucky that no one was hurt in the swift moving fire. A Phoenix fire company was only three minutes away, he said, and was familiar with the complex, which helped them successfully beat the fire.

The teens were still trying to grasp exactly what they did early Thursday morning.

Justin Rose said firefighters told him that the survival rate of a child falling from a second-story level was 30 percent to 40 percent without someone helping, and 40 percent for an adult.

"If you were to take those odds and they would have just jumped, their chances of survival would be very slim," Rose said.

He said it was hard to describe how it felt that they might have saved somebody's lives.

He said the incident was definitely an adrenaline rush that left him shaken, and that he probably wasn't going to sleep.

"If we weren't at the pool, it could have been worse," he said.

John Gallup said he felt "amazing. It's the best feeling I've ever had, and ever will, most likely."

Bildilli and Allana Gallup said the children were surprisingly calm. They took them to a nearby park, where the daughter said she was concerned about her pet fish in the apartment, and the boy simply said, "My house is on fire."

They said the mother was more emotional, tightly hugging them and the kids and saying, "Thank you. God bless you."

Sandulak said no cause for the fire had been determined.

The Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross was helping the six residents find

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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