Man helps save woman, her kids from burning Phoenix apartment

A woman and her kids are safe after a fire broke out on May 18 at an apartment complex in Phoenix.

The fire happened just after 4 a.m. near 19th Avenue and Indian School Road. Claudia Jimenez says she had to throw herself and her two daughters from a second-story unit to escape the flames.

"We were sleeping, and I just heard someone knocking, it sounded on a window, so I went out to look at the window and I didn't see anyone, so I just opened my front door and I seen flames halfway already covering my front door, so I just panicked. I woke up my daughter, I told her to grab our puppies, and I just went to my room, I closed my door, and I started screaming out the back door for help," she said. "This gentleman that was passing by jumped over the fence, he said, ‘I'll help you, throw your girls out the window' so I started throwing them each, one by one, and he caught them, and then I looked back, and my room was already filled with smoke, so I had no other choice but to throw myself out the window as well."

Joseph Collins lives in a tent on the canal behind the apartment building.

"The lady was screaming and crying," Collins said. "I told her to hand me the babies down. She was like, ‘Don’t drop them.’ She handed me one at a time, [I] safely put them down. I told her to come on down. She jumped down."

Hollins says he was at the right place, at the right time.

"There was a lot of smoke. It was dark, but other than that, anyone could've done it," he said.

Jimenez says it was more than that and as she surveyed the damage, saving what she could, she was grateful for the hero who was there for them.

"He saved our life," she said. "He saved her life. He saved my daughters. We're grateful."

Jimenez moved in less than two weeks ago after struggling to get back on her feet. Her family set up a GoFundMe account to help her financially after the fire. 

As for the rest of the apartment complex, four units were affected by the fire, and 10 people were displaced. No injuries were reported.

Phoenix Fire is investigating the cause of the blaze.

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A woman and her daughters are safe, thanks to a homeless man who helped save them from an apartment fire in Phoenix. (A woman and her daughters are safe, thanks to a homeless man who helped save them from an apartment fire in Phoenix.)

Area where the fire happened: