Firefighter on catching baby in dramatic rescue: 'We did what we had to do'

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jan 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-15 17:31:07-05

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (WGCL/CNN) - It's a moment which Capt. Jackie Peckrul will never forget.

"We did what we had to do, and the thing is that everybody there knew what they had to do," Peckrul said. "All I was thinking was, 'oh God, don't drop it.'"

She responded to a massive fire at the Avondale Forest Apartments in Jan. 3 and saved a child's life.

"I started going up the ladder," Peckrul said. "My plan was to actually get up on the balcony with them so that I could help them get on the ladder and have somebody else assist them down, but I got about halfway up there and here comes a baby down to my arms."

She caught a baby which was tossed from a third-floor balcony engulfed in flames.

It was one out of a dozen people rescued that day by the crew at Dekalb Fire Station No. 3.

"It was hot," Peckrul said. "You could feel it from the ground, and they don't have the gear on so they were just ready for us to come get them."

Their incredible bravery saved multiple lives. It's quite an accomplishment for this mother of triplets who is also a hero.

"I don't really feel like a hero," Peckrul said. "I don't think any of us do. It's our job and we are so fortunate to work for DeKalb County who prides training and equipment. And we have a brotherhood here and we work really well together. I couldn't be anything else and it makes me a better mom. And being a mom probably makes me a better firefighter."    

Dekalb fire officials continue to investigate the cause of the fire. 

One firefighter suffered injuries but is recovering.  

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