On Tuesday, an apartment building in Grenoble, France caught on fire forcing two brothers—ages 3 and 10—to jump from the burning building to safety. The entire incident was caught on camera by a person in a nearby building.
In the video, one child is dropped from the burning building into a crowd at the bottom waiting to catch him. The elder child then sits on the ledge of the building waiting as the crowd urges him to jump. When he finally leaps, the group of people were there to safely break his fall.
One of the citizens that helped catch the children. Athoumani Walid, described the incident to a CNN-affiliate.
"The eldest one took a lot of courage and a lot of confidence," Walid said while explaining that he was alerted to the danger after hearing screams from outside the window. "He put his little brother first. We took him in and we said to the other one, ‘Come on, jump, it’s your turn, jump.' ... Then he climbed up through the window, he let go, and then we got him again. None of them fell on the floor. No one’s hurt."
Walid went on to state that the crowd might have saved the children's lives, but it was the 10-year-old's decision making that made the rescue possible.
"We saved their lives but they made the right decision to go for it. We had no choice, we had no way to go to them," he continued. "They were the ones who came to us. They were the brave ones, they were the heroes."
The mayor of Grenoble, Éric Piolle, took to Facebook where he praised the residents for saving these children's lives.
"I would like to congratulate the inhabitants of Villeneuve who made a heroic rescue of two children trapped in their burning apartment today," Piolle said. "Hand in hand, they allowed the two little ones to get out unharmed from this drama."
The children were reportedly home alone during this incident. This moved the authorities to spark an investigation into potential negligence by the parents. The state prosecutor, Éric Vaillant, says that the mother was grocery shopping and that the father left the children alone because he had to go to work.
"The mother had been absent from around 11 a.m. (5 a.m ET) when she went grocery shopping and the dad had left for work around [11:30]," Vaillant said. "At first glance, the mum should have returned before the departure of the husband but was a bit late. The children were not allowed to be left alone."
Investigators are still trying to determine the fire's cause, but it is believed to have been started in the apartment's living room. 14 people in the building experienced smoke inhalation and two firefighters were injured.