PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — When he received a call from his sister that smoke was filling a 19-story high rise in Philadelphia Friday, one man knew he had to reach his mother inside the building.
Jermaine (the only name he provided reporters) was stopped by police from entering the building through the front door.
“They said, they was like, ‘The elevator ain’t working,’ and I’m like, ‘No problem, I’ll take the steps. I just want to go make sure my mother, my mother, she’s sick. She’s bedridden, so I need to get up there,” Jermaine said.
So he did the only thing he could think to do: climbed the 15 stories up to his mother’s apartment.
“The only part the news caught was me climbing down,” Jermaine said. “I actually climbed up cause they saying she was trapped.”
Earlier in the day Friday, the 35-year-old Jermaine fell and cracked his hip on a set of stairs.
When he saw his mother was in need, though, adrenaline took over. He resorted to climbing the fenced-in balconies with wire cutters in hand.
“Every ledge it was like, when I grabbed the gate, at the top of the gate, it was a ledge,” Jermaine said describing his climb. “Then I could step on the ledge and reach up to the other gate and keep climbing my way up.”
Finally, Jermaine reached his mom on the fifteenth floor balcony. She assured him the fire was contained and that she was OK.
“She was more shocked,” he said about his mother’s reaction to her son appearing on her fifteenth floor balcony. “She don’t be surprised the things I do now. She knows I’ll go over and beyond for her.”
So back down Jermaine went, expecting a quick arrest once he reached the ground.
However, an understanding police officer let him go.
“So he actually did cut me a break because he understood the circumstances and he knew,” Jermaine said. “You know, when your adrenaline pumping, your mom up there, you thinking she dying, you do anything you can.”
As to how Jermaine aquired his expert climbing skills.
“We used to, as kids, we used to jump roofs,” he said. “Glad I had the practice.”