Let’s start by saying Maijah Washington is an American hero.
The Oregon Black woman is being celebrated for saving a baby’s life after three family members related to the young infant were killed by a collapsed power line on Jan. 17. The tragic incident happened during an icy winter storm in Portland on Wednesday.
Officials are calling Maijah Washington “heroic” after the Oregon teen managed to navigate dangerous, icy conditions to save a 9-month-old baby. https://t.co/wmByJ78S6K
— WRTV Indianapolis (@wrtv) January 19, 2024
Washington, 18, recounted the moment she rushed in to save the 9-month-old baby during a press conference in Portland on Jan. 18. According to NBC News, the heroic teen knew something was wrong when she saw a flash of bright light erupt from outside her window. She opened her blinds and was shocked to see a giant power line on top of a red SUV. The owners of the vehicle, who were trying to put their young infant in the car, rushed to get the baby to safety after the power line hit. They were her next-door neighbors.
According to Washington, the father grabbed the child and tried to walk up an icy concrete driveway to safety, but the slippery walkway caused him to fall backward and hit the live power line, the Associated Press noted. He died instantly. Shocked and scared, the mother, who was reportedly six months pregnant, then tried to retrieve the baby, but was also fatally electrocuted. So was her 15-year-old brother who came outside to help.
Maijah Washington quickly rushed in to save the child’s life.
“I crouched down, I like kind of slid, I used my hands to break my fall, and I didn’t land on top of his father but my hands landed on top of him and I just grabbed the baby,” said Washington told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. “I pulled him up, I was swaddling him and I walked him up the hill.”
The 19-year-old was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher when she noticed the child’s head still moving. Washington knew she had to take a chance.
“I just thought, I have a nephew myself, I have little brothers, I would want somebody to do the same thing, I would hope somebody would do the same thing. I’m just thinking that this is something, if you see a baby, who’s not going to go save a baby? But I guess everybody doesn’t think about it like that.”
The hero added, “I was concerned about the baby. Nobody was with the baby.”
Thankfully, officials from the Portland Fire & Rescue Department said that the baby was “found to be unaffected by the situation,” according to a press release. The child was transported to a nearby hospital for a medical assessment.
Rick Graves, a spokesman from the department, praised Maijah Washington for her lifesaving deed.
“We do have fortunately with us a toddler that is going to be able to thrive and do what they possibly can as they move forward,” Graves said, according to Sky News. “And they are here, in part, because of the heroic acts of a member of our community.
Ronald Briggs, who is the father of the sibling duo that died on Wednesday, said he was devasted by the tragic incident.
“I have six kids. I lost two of them in one day. It just hurt,” Briggs added. “Being a good father cannot solve this right now.”
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