Boston firefighters are describing a six-alarm fire in Roxbury early Monday as one of the most dramatic rescue scenes in the city's recent history. As flames and smoke poured out of an apartment building, firefighters used ladders to save more than a dozen people.
One rescue, in particular, has landed 44-year-old Boston Fire Lt. Glenn McGillivray, a 22-year veteran of the department, in the spotlight. When he arrived on the scene, people were screaming from many of the building's windows, and he noticed a woman dangling a young boy from a window on the third floor.
"He was flailing about, arms and legs, of course completely frightened that he's going to fall to the ground," McGillivray recalled in an interview with WBUR's All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer, "and that she needs to drop him because she doesn't think she's going to make it, that the smoke is pushing out around all these windows."
The boy was 6-year-old Xavier Lamb. His grandmother, Judith Lamb, was holding him with one hand. McGillivray positioned himself and told Lamb to drop her grandson.
"It only took a second. He thankfully landed right in my arms," McGillivray said, calling it his "most dramatic rescue" in 22 years on the job.
After leaving the fire scene, McGillivray spent the day in the hospital with back pain as a result of his catch. He says that, although he'll undergo some physical therapy, he's feeling fine now.
Boston Police have since arrested a man who was staying in the building for allegedly starting the fire in a botched suicide attempt. More than a dozen residents and firefighters suffered minor injuries, and dozens of residents were left homeless.
This program aired on October 18, 2011.