A 35-year-old man with extensive experience in roofing and construction used his skills to scale a 19-story building to rescue his mother trapped in a building during a fire.
The man, identified as Jermaine, scaled the West Philadelphia apartment building after he heard that his bed-ridden mother could not get out of her 15th-floor apartment when it caught fire on Thursday.
“As kids, we used to jump roofs,” he told WPVI. “Glad I had the practice.”
Jermaine initially went to the apartment to check on his mother intending to use an elevator or climb the stairwell to see her, but the police blocked off the building’s main entrance.
“They said the elevators are not working. I said, ‘No problem. I’ll take the steps. I just want to make sure my mother– my mother is sick, she’s bedridden. So I need to get up there,” Jermaine told WPVI. “They were like, ‘We can’t let you in.’ I took it upon myself because that’s my mother. There’s no limits. That’s my mother.”
Jermaine fell and suffered a hip fracture after tripping on a flight of stairs before he began his ascent. But his adrenaline took over when he used wire cutters to scale the fenced-in balconies of the property where he once called home.
“When I grabbed a gate, at the top of the gate, there was a ledge. Then I could step on top of the ledge and reach up to the other gate, and keep climbing my way up,” Jermaine said.
Jermaine said he did it all for his mother, who was shocked when she saw him once he got to the 15th-floor balcony but reassured him that she was okay.
Jermaine then scaled down the building, where he found a police officer waiting for him on the ground.
“He told me if I didn’t leave I was going straight to jail because that was his job, but, he actually did cut me a break,” Jermaine said. “He understood the circumstances, he knew— when your adrenaline is pumping, and your mom is up there, you thinking she’s dying—you’d do anything you can.”