JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville community has offered overwhelming support since hearing the story of a Westside mother and her five children whom she saved from a fast-moving house fire Sunday morning.
Channel 4's newsroom has been inundated with phone calls and emails from the public asking how to help Mary Jones, who, along with her brother and sister, rescued her five children from their burning home in the 3000 block of West Ninth Street, literally throwing her children out the window to save their lives.
Their house was scorched, and they were left with nothing. Jones' 1-month-old son is still in the hospital after breathing in heavy smoke.
The state Fire Marshal says the cause of the fire is still undetermined, but they are treating it as suspicious.
Jones said she was scared after the fire about what her children were going to eat and where they were going to sleep. But the community has since stepped forward and wrapped its arms around the family.
"It was scary because the whole thing, it was smoky, you couldn't see nothing, and we was coughing," said 8-year-old Christopher Knight, who was rescued from the fire by his mom.
Christopher, his brothers and sisters made it out alive when their mom broke the bedroom window with her elbow and threw four of them outside.
"My daughter wouldn't go out the window, but I told her, 'You have to go,'" Jones said. "I literally took her hand. She was screaming, 'Ahh, no, you're going out the window.'"
A firefighter grabbed the fifth child, the 1-month-old baby, on the bed.
"He went in there and got the baby and tossed the baby out to another person, and then the truck kind of like blew up and everything happened like so fast," Jones said.
Everything inside the home was a loss.
The Red Cross put the family in a hotel for a couple of nights, and then the community responded.
"I thought I was going to be in this by myself, but this shows that there are good people in the world, seriously," Jones said.
Kubi Keyes' church, Tabernacle African Universal Church, paid for another night's stay in the hotel.
"We're not looking for notoriety or any name recognition," Keyes said. "Anybody could do this, to step up to help the fellow man. So it's a good thing we all should be able to do, and it makes us all feel warm inside."
Kathryn Grover brought over bags full of clothes, shoes and even video games Tuesday, and the children went crazy.
"I've been burned out in a fire before, and I know what it's like," Grover said. "I didn't have children. I was a child myself. And people came to our rescue, and I could just feel her pain. I could feel her hurt and the concern that she had for her children that she would risk her life, that she would throw her children out the window. That's something."
While the fire destroyed the home and everything inside, the quick outpouring of love and support from the community was overwhelming, the family said.
Jones says thank you to the community from the bottom of her heart.
If you'd like to help out this family, call Mary Jones at 904-520-2047.