Mom throws kids out window after military candle sparks fire

Posted at 10:36 AM, Mar 13, 2013

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- A quick-acting mom and police officer helped save two children from a burning apartment.

April Genao dropped her children, ages 1 and 5, out of her Petersburg apartment window early Tuesday morning after a candle, left burning in the home, started a fire.

Genao said she kept the candle burning to honor her husband who is currently deployed in Germany.

Woman jumps from windowShe said she awoke early Tuesday to the sound of her smoke alarm.

"I opened our bedroom door and it was just smoke everywhere," Genao said.

The mom was trapped inside her apartment's back bedroom with her two children when she called 911.

Less than a minute later, Officer Wendell James arrived as Genao was screaming for help.

"I told her to send the kids down to me, let them hang, and I'll catch them," Jones said.

Genao said she was scared -- and worried her children would get hurt -- but eventually managed to toss them out of the second-story window to Jones.

"I knew I had to do it, so I just threw my daughter out and he caught her," Genao said. "And then I was going to throw my son out, but he kinda just pushed me out of the way and jumped himself..."

Genao said she struggled to get out of the window, but eventually dropped.

"Then I started freaking out then, but I finally did," Genao said. "They coaxed me out and I jumped out."

The children were not injured, but Genao suffered a sprained ankle and a cut on her foot.

"I just can't say enough about the mother being able to hand her children out the window and drop them in the hands of people she didn't know," Petersburg Police Chief John Dixon said.

The fire caused minimal damage to the Woodmere Drive apartment.