FRANTIC parents were forced to throw their baby from a burning building, as she was caught below by a pair of heroic neighbours.
The drama unfolded at a block of flats on Bruce St Blacktown just before 8am on Tuesday, as a fire broke out in the unit underneath the second floor flat in which Luke Hayes and Kristy Morton and their seven-and-a-half-month-old daughter Nevaeh.
"I was in bed asleep and I heard 'fire' from down below and there was smoke everywhere in the unit, I thought I was going to die," Mr Hayes said.
As Ms Morton retrieved the baby, Mr Hayes tried the door but it was hot to touch, and smoke had clearly flooded the stair well. They were trapped.
Meanwhile in the block next door, neighbour Tony Finn had seen the flames, and raced over.
"About five years ago there was a fire here and I thought I can't have another fire here, especially when there are kids here," Mr Finn said.
"My first thought was to get everyone out but the heat was so intense," Mr Finn said.
He ran back and met another neighbour, Charlie, before the pair grabbed a ladder and a blanket and stood below the balconies next door.
"I heard Charlie and Tony shouting from below," Ms Morton said.
So she made a split second decision, the only one she could.
"I was so scared but I had to get her out, and I was so relieved to see Tony and Charlie down there," she said.
Ms Morton carefully dropped her precious baby over the side of the balcony to safety, before she and Mr Hayes climbed down the carefully balanced ladder, which was hanging off a window sill.
"We caught her like a football, with our arms out and then hauled her back in - she was smiling, like an angel she loved it. She was smiling when she landed but I'm still a little nervous, still a bit shaky," Mr Finn said.
Mr Hayes and Ms Morton have yet to assess damage, but Housing Department staff have found temporary accommodation for them. Meanwhile none of the residents are allowed in as fire investigators examine possible causes. The fire is thought to have been accidental.
Eight people were treated on the scene, while four were taken to Blacktown hospital, including Mr Finn and Charlie, whose surname is currently unknown.
"It was extraordinary, but people do extraordinary things," said Fire and Rescue's Inspector Graham Kingsland.
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