A 14-year-old boy jumped from the second-floor bedroom of his St. Paul apartment after an unattended candle sparked a fire on Wednesday morning.
The candle eventually set the teen's mattress on fire, trapping him inside his room, but what makes this story so unusual is that he and most everyone living on the second floor was forced to jump to safety.
For the first time in their 7 years living at Princeton Place apartments in St. Paul, Christina Mejia and her 7-year-old son, Carlos, started their day with the smell of clothes burning and flames outside the next door neighbor’s window. Only a wall separated the engulfed apartment and Carlos’ bedroom.
Apartment 205 is where the fire started, and the residents lost everything. Living there was a mother, daughter and son. The mother and daughter escaped through the hallway but left the door open, causing the hall to fill with smoke, so jumping to safety was the only option for most on the second floor.
“I broke the windows and hung onto my son for about 4 minutes. While my baby hung, someone drove a truck underneath to catch us. I let him go and then I jumped myself,” Mejia said.
Within minutes, the fire department arrived and everyone escaped safely and without injury.
“They had escape windows they could crawl out of reasonably close to the ground,” St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said.
The St. Paul Fire Department reminded residents of a few safety tips to avoid a potentially perilous situation.
“Every bedroom needs 2 ways out! Be sure to have an escape-sized window. (5.7 sq ft) - or 2 doors,” their Twitter account reads.