Toddler Falls Out of Open Window, Survives 5-Story Fall

Off-duty paramedic came by at just the right time

A toddler is recovering in a hospital after a five-story fall at a Bronx apartment building Monday morning.

It happened at a building on Cruger Avenue in Bronxwood at about 11:30 a.m. The 2-year-old girl was reportedly playing near an open window when she fell through and hit the ground. 

An off-duty paramedic, 35-year-old Willis Sands, was passing by and quickly realized the small figure was not a doll.

"I looked down and I saw the baby shaking,"  Sands said. "Blood underneath the baby."

Sands said he didn't know how the toddler had gotten there, but knew if he didn't stabilize her immediately, she would have no chance.

"My main concern was the head and neck," he said. "And she was bleeding from the head and side of the face."

An upstairs neighbor said he saw the baby on the ground with blood gushing from her head.

Another neighbor who lives across the street said the toddler was in her diapers, and had one slipper on. "She had a pink blanket wrapped around her from her waist to her neck," said Marion Irizarry, who called 911. "I couldn't see her face."

"I just have this baby in my mind, this little girl laying there, in my mind," she continued. "It's going to be etched there for a long time."

Sands, the quick-thinking paramedic, quickly stabilized the girl. Emergency responders then rushed the baby to Jacobi Medical Center.

The baby girl -- who has a twin brother -- is now recovering, but neighbors are asking who should take responsibility in the incident.

"Who's negligent?" said neighbor Elizabeth Kittles. "The landlord? The mother? The family?" 

Some neighbors told NBC New York the father had taken out the window guards to install an air-conditioner, although others said they didn't recall there ever being guards there and that the children would sometimes hang out of the window.

It is law in New York City to have metal window guards in homes where a young child resides.

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