Jump to content
The Talon House

2 More City Heroes, and One Saved Child


Recommended Posts

2 More City Heroes, and One Saved Child

NY Times


January 5, 2007

The two men first saw the baby from across the Bronx street, dangling from a fire escape four stories above the sidewalk. His grip was growing weaker by the second. The two men saw only one choice: run over and try to catch him.

They positioned themselves below, arms out. The little boy fell. He glanced off a branch of a tree that was brushing against the fire escape. Then he bounced off the chest of one of the men, who was knocked off balance and could not grab him.

But he landed safely in the arms of the other man, who managed to hold on tight.

And so yesterday, the two men — longtime friends who had been looking over a used Honda that one was thinking of selling and the other was thinking of buying — became the second and third good Samaritans of the new year, not even a week old. The rescue came two days after another New Yorker flung himself onto the subway tracks to save a 20-year-old film student who had fallen from the platform.

“This is a week of heroes here in New York,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said later yesterday.

The two men — Julio Gonzalez, 43, a mechanic who lives in the neighborhood, and Pedro Nevarez, 40, of Corona, Queens — insisted that they had just done the obvious thing. As Mr. Nevarez, who has a 19-year-old foster son, put it: “I’m not a hero. I did what any other father would do. When you’re a father, you would do this whether it’s your child or not.”

By then, a crowd of reporters and residents of the East Tremont neighborhood was swirling around them, and someone said, “If you’re not a hero, how about an angel without wings?”

Mr. Nevarez simply smiled. Mr. Gonzalez said, “I feel I did something good.”

The baby, identified by the police as Timothy Addo, 3, was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he was treated for minor scrapes and was released, a hospital spokesman said.

Before long, a man who said he was Timothy’s great-uncle returned from the hospital to the apartment building at 2105 Daly Avenue, near East 180th Street, and showed the crowd a photograph of Timothy after his tumble, taken with a cellphone. The boy had what appeared to be a bandage on his head, but looked as if he was enjoying the attention. The police said that Timothy had been in his baby sitter’s apartment on the top floor of the five-story building, and that there were no window guards. He crawled onto a radiator and from there, onto the fire escape, they said.

Last night at the 48th Precinct station house, the police were questioning the baby sitter, identified by law enforcement officials as Carol Baldwin, 50. It was not clear if any charges would be filed against her.

Ricky Serra, 31, said his daughter Alesha, 1½, was also in Ms. Baldwin’s apartment when Timothy climbed out the window. Ms. Baldwin also watches Mr. Serra’s 4-year-old daughter, Adriana, after school. He said he would not send the girls back to her.

“That could have been my baby,” he said, referring to Timothy. But he added that Ms. Baldwin could not have foreseen that Timothy would play with the window.

Timothy’s mother, Katrina Cosme, 26, was at work when the boy clambered out the window. Going step by step on the fire escape, he managed to work his way down one floor as passers-by below took notice.

Some screamed for help. Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Nevarez sprang into action, dashing toward the fire escape even though Mr. Gonzalez was not sure that the little object on the fire escape was a child. “I thought it was a toy or something,” he said later.

At first, he told Mr. Nevarez to run inside the building and pull the child back in. But the door was locked. Mr. Gonzalez realized that there was no time, and called his friend back. Mr. Nevarez said he tried to grab the bottom rung of the fire escape, hoping to climb up and carry the baby into the building. But the fire escape was too far off the ground.

They took their places under the fire escape just as Timothy lost his grip. Mr. Nevarez said Mr. Gonzalez told him: “Stay right next to me. We’re not going to let him hit the floor.”

First, the boy bounced off Mr. Nevarez. He said Timothy knocked the wind out of him, and also knocked him down.

Mr. Gonzalez then realized that it was up to him. “I just hoped and prayed that I would be able to catch him,” he said.

He did. “He came down hard,” Mr. Nevarez said. “He only weighed 45 pounds, but it felt like he weighed more than a hundred.” They wrapped him in Mr. Nevarez’s jacket and waited for help to arrive.

A neighbor, Migdalia Melendez, 43, said that Ms. Baldwin, the baby sitter, was standing behind the ambulance as the paramedics closed the doors, and that Timothy reached for her. Ms. Melendez said Ms. Baldwin put her arms around Timothy and said, “I was only in the bathroom for a second.”

Ms. Melendez said she had been in her living room on the second floor when she heard people screaming and saw Timothy on the fire escape. She ran outside, as did her husband, Luis.

“Don’t blame the baby sitter,” he said. “She’s a good woman.”

Another neighbor, Kyiesha Johnson, 19, said that she had known Ms. Baldwin from childhood and that Ms. Baldwin had looked after children in the building for years. If parents had to go to the store, Ms. Johnson said, the baby sitter kept tabs on their children.

“She always tended to the kids perfect,” Ms. Johnson said.

Timothy’s mother, Ms. Cosme, arrived at the building a couple of hours after the excitement. She hugged Mr. Gonzalez and cut through the crowd. Last night, she told television reporters that she was grateful.

After the police arrived, Mr. Gonzalez and Mr. Nevarez gave each other a high-five. That was when Mr. Nevarez realized that his hand was sore from landing on it when he was knocked down. His chest also felt sore. But he decided that he did not need medical help.

He and Mr. Gonzalez have known each other since they were 9 and 6, respectively, Mr. Nevarez said. They grew up on 174th Street in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx and have kept in close touch over the years.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” Mr. Nevarez said. “If we hadn’t been there, we’d be talking about how the kid across the street fell out of the house and died.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...