A former football player did a heroic act over the 4th of July weekend. In a video that has been circulating on the internet and social media, a courageous man is seen saving a small child from a burning apartment.
According to MLive, the man is Michigan native Phillip Blanks. Blanks told the news site that while he was at a friend’s home in Phoenix, Arizona, he heard noise outside of the window. When he saw all the commotion was being caused by a fire, he ran outside barefoot to offer some help.
“Instinct. There wasn’t much thinking. I just reacted. I just did it,” the former wide receiver told ABC.
In the video, a third-floor balcony is ablaze and a 30-year-old woman throws down her three-year-old son to safety and Blanks caught him in his arms.
“He was twirling in the air like a propeller,” he said. “I just did my best. His head landed perfectly on my elbow. His ankle got twisted up as I was diving. The guy who was there with me – it looked like he wasn’t going to catch him. So that’s why I stepped in. I just wanted to make a better catch.”
He said the toddler’s foot was injured during the fall and that when he caught him his skin was “melting off of his body” and “he was bleeding.”
Sadly, the toddler’s mother died in the fire. There was also an eight year old child in the apartment as well who received medical attention according to MLive.
“She’s the real hero of the story,” Blanks added. “Because she made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children.”
Blanks, a former U.S Marine, Works as a Bodyguard
The former U.S marine and college football player now protects people for a living as a bodyguard, so helping those in a time of need comes naturally to him.
“Ultimately, this is my job,” the 28-year-old told MLive. “It was all fast, it was a blur. It was tunnel vision as I was running. I didn’t see anything but the baby.”
He added that he hopes he can offer the children affected by the fire some assistance.
“In this situation if I could use this platform to get these kids some help, that’d be great,” Blanks said. “I don’t need any. I don’t want any help or too much recognition for this. I just feel like I was doing my job.” He continued, “I would honestly like to be involved in the kids’ lives because I know they had a traumatic experience and I know that their lives have changed forever.”
Blanks credited his background in football, the marines and security for making him so brave. According to his Saddleback College Athletics profile, he transferred there from Kalamazoo Valley College. He joined the U.S Marines after graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School and served in 12 countries. During his time at Saddleback College, he majored in sociology and maintained a 4.0 grade point average.