(CNN) — Two infants were saved from a burning New York building Wednesday after their father tossed them out a third-story window into the arms of a neighbor below, authorities said.
Jermaine Shirley, a postal worker, told CNN affiliate WABC that he was leaving his Bronx apartment around 7 a.m. when he smelled smoke.
Shirley said he warned other residents to evacuate but the inhabitants of a third floor apartment were unable to get out.
“I heard them in the back screaming for help, so I ran back there,” Shirley told WABC, referring the family in the third-floor apartment. “It was quick thinking.”
Shirley said he ran to the back of the building, where he and a relative of the 11-month-old twins formed a relay team to catch the boys from the top of a shed adjacent to the building and then pass each boy down to the street.
As the two men rescued the twins, named Israel and Ishmael, their father, Everdean Codner, scrambled out of the burning building.
“Words can’t explain it, man,” Codner said. “From my side, I’m very thankful.”
The blaze was classified as an accidental electrical fire caused by unsafe use of power cords, according to a fire department statement. Three people suffered minor injuries in the fire.
“I’m very proud of my husband,” Shirley’s wife, Shellyann Fraser Shirley, told CNN affiliate NY1. “He’s the one that came back in and banged on everybody’s door. ‘Get out, get out. Fire! Fire!'”
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