Marine Veteran Phillip Blanks Caught a 3 yr old Dropped From Burning Building
Phillip Blanks, 28, is a Marine Veteran and former wide receiver. He says he was just “doing his job” on July 3rd when he caught a 3 year old dropped from a burning apartment building in Phoenix, Arizona. Here is the video:
Incredible video: Former @KCentral_Sports WR Phillip Blanks dives to catch a 3-year old boy dropped from a burning, 3rd floor Phoenix apartment. I just spoke to the former @USMC Marine who says he was "put on this earth to protect people". His story tonight on @wwmtnews pic.twitter.com/Y4qDvMFEwV
— Andy Pepper (@APepperWWMT) July 6, 2020
Blanks is currently a body guard, but when he was in high school in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he was a wide receiver on the football team. In one game he caught a pass that allowed his team to win – it was the catch of his life…until July 3rd.
The fire raged through two apartments on the top floor. According to witnesses, the mother of the three year old, Rachel Long, was on fire herself when she dropped the 3 year old boy off the balcony. Her 8 year old daughter was rescued by a neighbor, who dragged her out of the inferno. The mother didn’t make it. Both children were hospitalized.
Phillip Blanks and another man saw the child “helicoptering” through the air. When Blanks realized the other man might not be able to catch him in time, he stepped in front of him and lunged toward the child. Touchdown. He caught him. The child had a hurt foot and was burned, but is expected to survive.
The other apartment next door, also had tenants who pitched their 4 year old and small dog over the balcony. People standing below caught both. The woman from that apartment jumped over the balcony and her boyfriend used a ladder. She only suffered minor injuries. Ultimately 8 units of the apartment complex were impacted by the fire, and the Red Cross was dispatched to assist the tenants, according to ABC15.
The Kalamazoo native served four years in the military after completing one year at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Blanks said in an interview with MLive. Prior to college, he played four years as a wide receiver and linebacker at Kalamazoo Central.
He moved to Arizona about a year ago and currently works in executive protection, or as a body guard, he said. He was at a friend’s apartment for a workout Friday morning when he heard people yelling outside and he jumped into action, Blanks said.
“I wasn’t able to grab my shoes,” Blank said. “I ran down the stairs barefoot…” and then he started looking to see who needed help.
“As I was running, I see the baby getting ready to be tossed out of the patio,” Blanks said. “Next thing you know, he’s helicoptering in the air and I catch him.”
Blanks says he was put on this earth to help people. He credits his Marine Corps training and football ability for his reactions.
Feature photo: screenshot from wwmt video – Blanks is the guy on the ground in the red shirt after catching the 3 year old.