Desperate to save sons, Raleigh mother leapt from burning apartment
Posted December 30, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — A north Raleigh mother of four whose apartment caught fire earlier this month told her story Friday of the dramatic rescue of her two young sons, who remain hospitalized with complications from heavy smoke inhalation.
Jae Monk woke up around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 14 to the strong smell of smoke. Dashing upstairs to check on her 1-year-old and 5-year-old sons, Monk said, she became blinded by heavy smoke.
Unable to breathe, unable to find her boys, Monk said she jumped out a second-story window, desperate to find help.
"I started breaking glass," she said. "I jumped out and just started screaming, 'Someone get my babies! Help me please!' as loud as I could."
Helpless on the ground outside, Monk lost consciousness just as firefighters rushed into the burning apartment.
"I saw the fire come out. It got extinguished, and then I saw smoke, and then I just passed out," she said.
Her children had both gone into respiratory arrest, firefighters said, but paramedics were able to get them breathing again at the scene. The boys remained in the Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill Friday but are expected to recover fully.
"They are actually starting to breathe on their own as of last week, but they have to go through physical therapy," Monk said.
Monk was treated at UNC Hospitals for cuts and injuries she sustained in the fall and released.
Her two daughters were staying with their grandmother when the fire happened.
The fire damaged two apartments at the complex at 1534 N. Raleigh Blvd., displacing four people. Monk said she and her daughters are staying with family.
A fire incident report states that food left unattended on a stove sparked the blaze. It took 50 firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the flames under control.
Monk said she's grateful for the crews that battled the fire.
"I am kind of waiting for the boys to get out so I can take them with me to meet the firefighters who actually saved their lives," she said.