A mother tossed her twin toddlers to safety from her family's burning home early Wednesday, and then jumped out the second-floor window, followed by her teenage daughter.
The fire, which officials say is suspicious, broke out in the first-floor hallway at the multi-family building on Van Cortlandt Park Avenue just after 2 a.m., the Yonkers Fire Department says. Crews quickly brought the fire under control.
The mother, Danielle Doughty, told NBC 4 New York that her apartment filled with smoke and she could barely see or breathe. She knew she had to get her children out, so she tossed the toddlers, one at a time, out the window to her cousin, Robert Harris, who was on the sidewalk below.
"I was scared," she said, "but I would rather them fall than to get burnt up."
After her twins, a boy and girl, went out the window and were safely caught, Doughty jumped out and her cousin helped break her fall.
Then, her 13-year-old daughter jumped, and hit her head on the sidewalk as she landed. She has serious leg and head injuries but her mother says she will survive.
Harris said he was just trying to help.
"People do it all the time, ain't no big thing," he said. "Everybody helps their family and friends -- that's what you do in life."
There were eight other residents at the building when the fire broke out, including a woman who is eight months pregnant. None of those residents were hospitalized.