Allied Universal employee saves toddler’s life

Incredible feat captured on video
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Monday, July 13, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif.—Off-duty Allied Universal security guard and ex-Marine, Phillip Blanks, caught a three-year-old child who was dropped from the third story of a burning apartment building in Phoenix. Blanks was hanging out with a friend when he heard commotion outside. As smoke and flames engulfed the apartment, Blanks saw what was about to happen and ran towards the building to see how he could help. Within moments, he had a toddler in his arms. 

“I’d seen the building was on fire and my instinct kicked in immediately,” Blanks said during a local T.V. interview. “With no hesitation, I just ran to the baby and caught him.” 

Cellphone video caught Blanks in action. 

A woman believed to be the child’s mother desperately dropped the toddler off the third-floor balcony. Blanks jumped into action, centering himself under the falling child. 

“I just had tunnel vision on the baby and he was twirling as he was coming down and I was just fortunate to catch him,” Blanks said. 

Once he had the child in his arms, Blanks held him for about a minute as he was screaming and reassured the child that everything was going to be OK then, he ran around the parking lot looking for a place to set the child down. Someone opened up their car for him and another person laid a wet sheet on the toddler to ease his pain from the burns.

The woman on the balcony was later identified as 30-year-old Rachel Long and the toddler, her son, as Jameson. Long re-entered the burning apartment to save her other child, eight-year-old Roxxie.

Roxxie was saved by another good Samaritan who broke down the door to the burning apartment. 

Police officers carried the children to fire rescue units that transported them to a nearby hospital in serious condition. They both suffered serious burns, but they will recover. Sadly, the children’s mother did not make it. 

“She’s the real hero in this story, not me,” said Blanks. “She had the strength and the courage to get them outside — that’s powerful. To be in that type of situation and still care about life, not yours, that’s very strong of her. She’s a warrior.” 

Blanks has been working for Allied Universal for more than three months as one of their 235,000 employees.