When Shontal Gaymon ran into a burning building, she had one thought on her mind: saving her neighbor's baby girl.
Gaymon was hanging out with friends in the early hours of July 8 in Troy, N.Y. when she heard a fire alarm go off, News10 reports. The 29-year-old mom bravely raced inside and suffered second- and third-degree burns, a fate her maternal instinct led her to unhesitatingly risk, she told Fox23.
She, a neighbor, and baby Nikia's father all rushed to enter the apartment. Gaymon hurried through the building's rear entrance, snatched the baby's playpen, and ran to carry it out the front door.
"I couldn't get it out the front door because the doorknob fell off,” Shontal explained to Fox23.
With no other options, she snatched Nikia out of the crib and ran back through the inferno out the apartment's rear door. "Hot. Very, very hot," Gaymon described the fire to the Times Union.
Hot indeed. While Nikia escaped without serious injury (she was carried below the scorching heat of the fire), Gaymon had to be airlifted to the nearby Westchester Medical Center Burn Unit to treat her injuries. She's spent much of the last month recovering in Albany Medical Center.
WNYT reports Gaymon finally returned home this weekend to a hero’s welcome.
As a token of their gratitude, reports the Associated Press, every police officer and firefighter in the city has pitched in to pay her rent for the next six months.
Those interested in donating to help Gaymon pay for her medical bills and other recovery-associated costs associated should contact TrustCo Bank and inquire about the Shontal Gaymon Recovery fund.