A Balch Springs woman and her young son are safe after police helped them escape their second-floor apartment during an early-morning fire Monday.
Keisha Sowel and her son Kingston were inside their home at the Glenshire Villas Apartments on Quail Drive when a fire broke out somewhere in their building at about 6:30 a.m.
Three police officers, Cory Jones, David Fields and Tyler Gross, were the first to arrive. Their body camera recordings who how they rushed around the building, knocking on doors to wake up residents.
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As Gross climbed the stairs to alert residents on the second floor, where Sowel and her son lived, he was pushed back by heat, flames and falling debris.
"I didn't even think twice. I just went up the stairs," said Gross. "I attempted to find the front door, go to the front door. I couldn't see it becaus the smoke was so black."
Jones and Fields, meanwhile, realizing Sowel and her son were unable to exit through their door, yelled for them to open their window and jump into their arms. Sowel signaled she was unable to open the window so Jones told her to step back and he then threw his baton at the window, shattering it. Officers then coaxed the boy into jumping from the second floor into their arms.
"He knew that we were down there and we were going to catch him," said Officer Jones. "He didn't think twice and he jumped out the window."
“It was only seconds, but it felt like hours because once again you’re looking at their faces and they’re fearful. I’m fearful for them. It was hard,” said Officer David Field.
Moments later firefighters with the Balch Springs Fire Department would arrive and use a ladder to rescue the boy's mother.
“We just did it. There was no thinking. It’s just part of the job. It’s what you sign up to do is help people and help your community,” said Jones.
During a news conference Wednesday, Deputy Chief Brent Hurley recalled the rescue while honoring the officers who saved the boy.
"These officers' dedication as servants to the citizens of Balch Springs is on display each and every day that they put on their uniform," said Deputy Chief Brent Hurley with The Balch Springs Police Department. "The Balch Springs Police Department is proud to have these officers, as well as all members of this department, who serve this community with selfless acts of service."
Sowel, who spoke at the news conference Wednesday along with the officers that saved she and her son, said she'd never had a reason to open the window before so she wasn't sure if it was stuck or if there was a special trick to getting it to work. She then recalled that she tried to kick the window open, but that the glass wouldn't break, before Jones threw his baton and shattered the glass.
Standing in front of officers Gross, Fields and Jones Wednesday, Sowel thanked them for following their calling and saving the life of she and her child.
"I'm grateful. I don't even know how to put into words ... I just thank God that they took the time to do what they were called to do as officers and as firefighters. I really appreciate it and I am totally grateful," Sowel said. "I thank them because Kingston is all I have. He's all I have."
Both Sowel and her son escaped the fire without injury, however her home home and two other apartments in the building were heavily damaged by the fire.
Fire officials said Wednesday that the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
If you are interested in helping the victims of the fire, you can reach out to the Balch Springs Santa Cop Program by calling 972-913-3023.