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Cape Town - A heroic trio saved the life of a two-month-old baby on Saturday, when they caught the child after he was dropped from a first-storey window of a residence above shops in Woodstock which was gutted by fire.
The infant’s father, Blessing Mashomgamy, said the baby suffered no ill-effects after the tense rescue on Saturday morning.
Mashomgamy, who lives above Crescent Fast Foods & Bakery on the corner of Davison and Albert roads in Woodstock, said he had to carefully drop the infant into the waiting arms of five people below as the stairs were blocked by fire.
Three of the men who caught the baby – Poni Lubabalo, Gqoboza Freeman and Thembalethu Mgwe, of the Woodstock Improvement District – agreed that Mashomgamy had no option but to drop the child.
Together with two colleagues, they stood under the window and formed a net with their arms to catch him.
Shortly after the baby’s rescue, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services arrived and took control of the scene.
Mashomgamy, who escaped unscathed apart from a light burn to his hand, said he first saw smoke coming from the caretaker’s room when he was getting ready to leave for work on Saturday morning.
When the caretaker did not respond to his calls, he helped break down the door. “We had to throw some buckets of water, flames were coming out of the room.”
At about the same time Freeman, who was on patrol, noticed smoke coming from the building. He shouted “fire” and alerted his superiors, then started searching for a ladder. Meanwhile, Mashomgamy went from room to room to wake everyone up.
With the staircases blocked by fire and smoke, residents were considering jumping out the windows when the Fire and Rescue Services arrived and helped them to safety.
Emergency Medical Services spokesman Robert Daniels said one resident had been taken to New Somerset Hospital but had not sustained serious injuries.
Residents have been warned not to return to their homes for safety reasons.