When most people see a building in flames, they probably gawk for a few seconds. From a safe distance.
If someone is very close, their first instinct will be to get father away.
Of course if you’re inside the building, your only thought is to get outside as quickly as possible.
If you’re a fireman, your instinct is to walk through the flames to try to rescue survivors. Once you’re sure everyone is safe, then thoughts go to putting out the fire and keeping nearby buildings safe.
Now, Brian Smith and Corey Boykin aren’t firemen. Even so, they proved that they are very far from being just “average people.”
One was in a building that caught fire while the other was across the street at a friend’s house. And when fire and smoke erupted, they didn’t gawk or run to a safe distance…they acted.
And before the night was over they would be hailed as heroes, even though they both say they did nothing they don’t think anyone else would have done.
The saga began early in the morning last November in Columbus, Ohio.
Smith was abruptly awakened when a fire started on the second floor of his building. His first thought wasn’t for himself, but for his family members.
“I got my family out first,” said Smith.
He didn’t follow them outside, though; his next thought wasn’t for his own safety, but for that of his neighbors.
“Then I started banging on doors on the first floor. I tried getting to the second floor, but the smoke was too black.
I couldn’t see; I couldn’t breathe. So I turned around and came outside.
That’s when I saw people hanging out the window.”
What happened next is what put both Smith and Boykin permanently on our heroes list. In a top spot, no matter what they say.
Boykin was across the street at a friend’s house when he looked outside and saw flames coming from Smith’s building.
The flames were enough to keep him mesmerized for a moment. Then he saw a baby come flying out of an upstairs window and he was off like a flash.
He ran across the street through the darkness lit by streetlights and the hungry flames. As he got closer he heard a man’s voice shouting:
“Jump! I got you.“
Then he knew the baby hadn’t been falling; it had been tossed. Straight into the strong arms of the man waiting below.
Boykin raced to a neighbor’s home to get a ladder and carried it back to help Smith save as many people as possible.
By the time he got back, the sidewalk was filling up with people Smith had saved from the smoke and flames.
He hadn’t been able to actually catch everyone that had jumped. But, he had managed to break their fall with his body so that nobody was seriously injured.
Then, Boykin was horrified to realize there were still more inside, and the smoke was so dense that most had lost their bearings and were walking towards the flames instead of the window and safety.
He quickly climbed the ladder and shouted to the people inside to come to his voice.
He kept talking to them until one by one they made their way to the open window and safety.
“I tried to walk out the front door, but a big cloud hit me. The smoke was getting to me so bad, I couldn’t breathe,” resident Chase Ray told Columbus’s 10TV.
“He saved my life, for sure.”
“We caught everything that came out the window,” one of them said with a laugh.
That included everything from a baby, that was soon sleeping soundly in his mother’s arms, to a pregnant lady that escaped with nothing more serious than a sprained ankle.
Isn’t this incredible? Inspiring? Life-affirming?
Our news reports are filled every day with stories of the atrocities that one human can inflict on another. But, acts of bravery happen every day around the world, too.
We are happy to be able to report the stories that prove that human instincts aren’t always self-preservation.
Sometimes, good people still do what they should, and end up making the world a better place for all of us.
Source: Reader’s Digest