8-year-old girl critically injured after jumping from sixth-floor balcony to escape apartment fire

NEW YORK (CNN) — A child was left with no choice but to jump from six stories up after a fire broke out at a Bronx apartment building Wednesday.

She is critically injured but expected to survive.

It happened at a 17-story high-rise apartment building near 169th Street in the Morrisania section.

Neighbor Linda Kemp was dealing with not only seeing the raging blaze but also racing over to take care of an 8-year-old girl who jumped from her sixth-floor balcony.

“This is a child I’ve known since she’s been in her mom’s belly,” Kemp told CBS2’s Cory James. “We went and held her down so that she wouldn’t move, to try to keep her from moving her neck and her body parts … I recognized that both her legs were damaged.”

As people nearby worked to keep the young girl calm, over 100 firefighters showed up to put the fire out.

“This is not our first fire in our building,” Kemp said.

The FDNY says the blaze, which could be seen from miles away, heavily engulfed two rooms.

“There was a lot of smoke and a lot of heat throughout the fire floor and the floors above,” FDNY Deputy Chief Anthony Montera said.

An adult from the apartment suffered minor injuries along with two firefighters, but Montera cannot stop thinking about the courageous child who was brave enough to fall several feet in hopes of saving her life.

“In order to jump from the sixth floor had to be horrifying,” he said. “She landed on the dirt. I think was aware enough to aim for the dirt and not the pavement, and thankfully she landed on the dirt, that saved her.”

“I pray to god that she comes to full recovery and mentally, physically, that she heals 100 percent,” Kemp said.

Firefighters and Kemp say the 8-year-old girl is expected to survive. At last check, she was in critical condition with severe leg trauma.

So far, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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