ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A woman whose baby girl was saved from the third floor balcony of their burning apartment building says she’s grateful for the heroes who came to their rescue.
Barbara Elenus says it was around 4 a.m. Saturday morning when she awoke to screams as fire ripped through her Oak Ridge Apartment building.
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She says three of her children and a niece were able to escape on their own, but her two-year-old daughter Sophieyah and sister Calandra were trapped.
“As soon as we tried to go out, the flames started on our side, and we couldn’t go behind them,” Elenus recalled.
The balcony of their third-floor apartment quickly became the only chance of escape for Barbara, Sophieyah, and Calandra.
The sisters say they were scared to jump because they had Sophieyah with them and didn’t know if the other children had made it out of the apartment.
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That’s when Elenus says they locked eyes with Deputy William Puzynski.
Amazing video of OCSO Deputy rescuing baby girl from fire!— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) April 23, 2022
Early this morning, deputies were assisting @OCFireRescue & saw a baby & mom on 3rd floor balcony with flames coming from the apartment. Deputy Puzynski climbed the outside balconies & mom handed baby down to him. pic.twitter.com/T5JeXLY7tA
“Something like a calmness came over me where I was able to just lower her down and let her go with him, because I knew he was sitting there to save her,” Elenus said. “He’s like my hero.”
Baby Sophieyah- who’s been nicknamed balcony baby- got a blister from the fire but was otherwise fine.
Elenus says her family did lose everything they had in the fire. They’re currently living in a hotel covered by their renter’s insurance.
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When asked about their next steps towards finding a home, Elenus said she doesn’t have the financial or mental capacity to think that far ahead just yet.
As for replacing the family, the apartment complex says that will be a challenge because of current renting demands.
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