Video of the dramatic rescue showed the younger brother being dropped from at least three floors as black smoke billowed from the window and flames engulfed an adjacent balcony. As the onlookers shouted, the older brother then hung from the window and let himself fall into the arms of those below.The boys were hospitalized with 17 residents of the building, according to media reports. Four of the people who caught the boys were also taken to the hospital to check for any broken bones when they caught them.
Athoumani Walid, a 25-year-old student who broke his wrist helping to catch the children, said he heard screams and went out to investigate after seeing the fire in his neighboring apartment and rushed to help, along with four or five other people. .
“We didn’t know what to do,” Walid told The Associated Press Wednesday. “We wanted to break the door but it was not possible.”
They then came out and yelled at the boys to jump into their arms. Although he initially feared for the boys, “when they jumped the fear was gone,” Walid said. “What mattered was catching them. ”
Walid said he hoped the rescue would change perceptions of the Villeneuve district of Grenoble in south-eastern France, which has a large immigrant population. “We are told this is a ‘sensitive’ neighborhood,” said Walid, “but yesterday we showed that we are there for each other, and we are saving each other.”
The mayor, Eric Piolle, congratulated the inhabitants for the rescue, which, according to him, underlined the “tradition of solidarity and mutual aid” of the city.
In May 2018, a man from Mali rescued a child hanging from a balcony and was offered French nationality. Video of the rescue showed Mamoudou Gassama, 22, climbing four stories outside the building in seconds to save the child, to cheers from onlookers. By the time the Paris emergency services arrived, he had already put the child to safety.