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Homeless man catches family's two children and dogs dropped from burning apartment building

"He was right underneath and he was like 'Yes, throw your daughters out, I'm going to catch them, I'm going to get them.'"

phoenix; homeless man; saves family; burning apartment

Man catches entire family as they jump from burning building.

House fires are devastating for families. In a matter of minutes, you could lose all of your belongings and a place to live, or worse, you could lose loved ones. A family in Phoenix, Arizona, recently found themselves facing the reality of their own home in flames. Claudia Jimenez told CBS News that she woke up trapped in her burning apartment with her two daughters, with nothing to do but yell for help in the hopes that someone would hear her.

The mom's screams were answered by Joe Hollins, a homeless man who was camping nearby with his wife. Hollins didn't hesitate to try to find a way to help. With no way out and the fire department still nowhere on the scene, Jimenez had to trust the stranger who was standing below.

"He was right underneath and he was like 'Yes, throw your daughters out, I'm going to catch them, I'm going to get them,'" Jimenez told CBS.


So the terrified mom did what any mom would've done to save her babies—she tossed them one at a time out the window. And just as he'd promised, Hollins caught them. Valerie, who is just a year old, was dropped to safety first, then 8-year-old Natalie made the two-story fall into Hollins' arms. The family dogs were next out the window before it was time for Jimenez to make the jump.

After some coaxing, the mom made the leap, and Hollins again made the catch, saving everyone in the house. When everything was said and done, Hollins saved the entire family and the dogs. Soon after Jimenez jumped to safety, the fire department showed up to put out the blaze.

Multiple families lost their home that night, but thanks to Hollins, the Jimenez family didn't lose their lives. In an effort to help Hollins after saving this family, a GiveSendGo was created and people can donate here. A GoFundMe was also created for the young mom and her daughters, and people who would like to help can do so by donating here.

If you ask the hero, he's no hero at all. He told CBS News that anyone in his shoes would've done the same thing. Hollins was in the right place at the right time, and because of his willingness to help, he saved an entire family. You can watch the entire interview below.

This article originally appeared on 5.24.23

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