Nightly News   |  October 17, 2011

Boy survives drop from 3rd floor in Boston blaze

A dramatic rescue in Boston involved a 6-year-old boy being tossed out of a third-floor apartment window after an explosion set the building ablaze. Police have arrested a man they say admitted to being responsible. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally tonight, this next story was almost very bad news. It started with a fire alarm in Boston last night. It ended with an act of heroism that defines what it means to be a first responder, to protect and serve your fellow citizens instinctively, and how a split-second life and death decision is just part of another night on the job. The story from NBC 's Ron Mott .

RON MOTT reporting: Firefighters are trained to stand and deliver in the flaming heat of battle. But after midnight, one of Boston 's bravest essentially did the opposite. He stood and received. His catch, a terrified six-year-old boy hurled from a burning apartment building.

Lieutenant GLENN McGILLIVRAY (Boston Firefighter): I was thanking my lucky stars. I was -- I was just -- happened to be in the right place at the right time, and that's what -- that's what we're here for.

MOTT: The veteran and his crew were called out on a six-alarm blaze. More than a dozen people trapped, including young Xavier Lamb . All were rescued.

The boy's grandmother confronted with an impossible life and death decision: wait for help or drop Xavier three stories down. The fire lieutenant was waiting below.

Ms. JUDITH LAMB (Xavier's Grandmother): I thank God for that because I don't know what I would have done. I thought that that was the end. And I thought that we were going to die in that fire. It was so bad. It was so scary.

MOTT: It was a frantic scene when firefighters arrived, little Xavier dangling from a window, held by his grandmom. Firefighters were rushing to get a ladder extended to the upper floor when his grandmother simply couldn't hang on any longer. Tonight, 75 people are homeless, thankful fire crews got to them in time.

Ms. LAMB: I think they did their job so well. Well done. Even though I lost everything I had -- what I had. But the greatest thing that cannot be replaced is my life, my family's life, and I thank God for that.

MOTT: A fine example of bravery under fire and a well-deserved pat on the back from a hero just doing his job. Ron Mott, NBC News, Boston .