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Watch: Toddler dropped 2 stories into arms of first responders as N.J. fire raged

His father dropped from the apartment during the blaze at the complex fire in Monmouth Junction.
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A father and his 2-year-old were safe after the toddler was tossed to safety from a second-story window during an apartment fire in New Jersey on Monday, authorities said.

The rescue, which was was captured on video from different angles, involved officials from the South Brunswick Township Police Department and Chief Chris Perez of the Monmouth Junction Fire Department.

"We thought the building was evacuated, and then there’s somebody at the window and then we said, 'Oh my God, he has a baby,'" police Sgt. John Penney told NBC New York.

After the boy was thrown to rescuers, his father, who has not yet been publicly identified, dropped from the second floor.

Firefighters work to put out a residential building fire in South Brunswick, NJ, on March 7, 2022.
Firefighters work to put out a residential building fire in South Brunswick, NJ, on March 7, 2022.Monmouth Junction Fire Department

His fall was broken by rescuers and shrubbery surrounding the building, police said.

Moments earlier, police Patrolman Ryan Bartunek quickly sized up the situation and realized that trying to catch the residents appeared to be the only option.

"We knew we had to act fast, as there wasn’t time to mess around," he told NBC New York. "The smoke was coming out so bad."

The father and son sustained minor injuries, they said.

“This dramatic rescue was the result of years of first responders working together,” Fire Chief Perez said.

The fire at the Southridge Woods apartments in the Monmouth Junction community of South Brunswick was reported at 8:17 a.m., the area's volunteer department said in a statement.

When first responders, including about 50 firefighters, arrived to the three-story complex, heavy fire was spreading on the top two floors and thick smoke clouded the building, the Monmouth department said.

As smoke filled exit routes, residents told firefighters some of their neighbors were still inside, the Monmouth department said.

One resident, Venkat Muyppaneni, told NBC New York, "We didn’t get any fire alarm."

An initial attempt to head inside for residents was immediately thwarted by flames, the department said.

Bartunek, Sgt. William Merkler and Dectiive. Sgt. John Penney and Perez all rushed below the window to catch the toddler and his father, according to the police department's statement.

No other injuries were reported, fire officials said.

Damage from the fire was severe enough that residents were not allowed to reoccupy their units Monday night.

The Red Cross was helping them find temporary shelter.

Many returned later in the day to retrieve belongings that survived smoke, fire and water damage.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

The father-son duo's exact injuries weren't revealed. But for the toddler they were minor enough that he was seen outside the building Monday afternoon, running around his mother, who was not home when the fire erupted.