Maurice Muccular, 3, was all smiles hours after he was thrown to safety during a Hayward apartment fire. Christie Smith reports.
A 3-year-old boy was thrown to safety from a second-story balcony during an overnight apartment fire in Hayward. Intense fire conditions inside blocked his family from escaping out the door.
Hayward Battalion Chief Mark DeDomenico said the the boy's grandmother and step-grandfather decided to throw the child 20 feet down, and an aunt caught the boy.
Authorities say a pot on the stove sparked the blaze.
The two women then jumped down the 20 feet themselves. The single-alarm fire at Seventh and C streets was called about 11:15 p.m. Thursday.
Both the grandmother and step-grandfather were taken to Eden Medical Center hospital with undisclosed, non-life-threatening injuries, but the boy was fine.
By 6 a.m., his mother, Jamesha Fitzpatrick, came to hold her son, Maurice Muccular, who appeared physically OK, if not a little tired, wearing a blue winter coat with the hood pulled up. And hours later, Maurice became a media darling, smiling shyly for all the reporters who wanted him to tell his survival tale.
Fitzpatrick told NBC Bay Area that Maurice's aunt caught him "like a hot dog."
About a dozen people were displaced because of the fire, including resident Julie Grandstaff.
"Oh my God, I heard everyone screaming," she said. "I'm just worried about them more than me," referring to her neighbors who had to jump."
Just as the apartment fire was getting under control, a second fire broke out at a carport just behind the apartment complex, burning nine cars.
"It's just stunning to me," resident Dana Gilmore said. "Just hours ago, the apartment there was on fire."
At this point, it appears as though the two fires are unrelated.
NBC Bay Area's Shelby Hansen contributed to this report.