Man Scales 19-Story Building to Rescue Mother From a Fire in Philadelphia

Most of us would go to great lengths to help a loved one in danger, but would you be able to scale a building to reach them? That's exactly what one man did when a fire broke out in his mother's apartment building in Philadelphia.

In 2019, a man named Jermaine, who was 35 years old at the time, received a call from his sister stating that his mother's 19-story building was on fire. He immediately knew that he had to do something. His mother, Sheila, was bedridden and had no way to leave the apartment. Jermaine first tried the front door but was blocked by police.

“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 a local news outlet. “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.”

So, Jermaine, who had hurt his hip earlier that day, decided to climb up 15 stories to his mother. He was familiar with the layout of the building, as he'd lived there in the past and knew that if he scaled the balconies, he'd reach his mother. Despite the pain of his injury, adrenaline took over, and he began his climb.

“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,” he recalled.

He eventually made it to his mother, who was shocked to see him on her balcony. As the fire was contained, she was ok, and so Jermaine climbed back down the way came. Video footage followed his every move, and he was celebrated as a real-life Spider-man.

Though he doesn't have any superhero training, Jermaine worked as a roofer and a construction worker. That, combined with him being an adventurous child, gave him plenty of climbing experience. “As kids we used to jump roofs,” he said. “Glad I had the practice.”

Hear Jermaine discuss his heroic efforts to save his mother during the fire.

h/t: [CNN]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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