EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 9, 2014

Mom broke back in jump from building with baby

Woman recovering after surgery, child OK

HAVERHILL — Christina Simoes wants to know what all the fuss is about.

“She said all she did was jump out of a burning building with her son in her arms to save his life,” her father, John Simoes, said yesterday afternoon.

His daughter was recovering yesterday from back surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

“She keeps asking me why everyone is making such a big deal out of this,” John Simoes said.

He said his daughter broke her back in the jump from the second-story patio deck of her 21 Forest Acres Drive apartment to escape the fire that engulfed the building Wednesday afternoon.

Christina Simoes’ 18-month-old son, Camron Strangman, was not hurt during the jump and is doing fine, John Simoes said.

Christina was in surgery until 2 a.m. yesterday, her father said.

“She’s got a long road ahead of her,” he said. “She’s going to be in the hospital for several weeks.”

Christina briefly took the phone yesterday to speak to an Eagle-Tribune reporter.

She said that the day of the fire she was lying in bed and heard what sounded like someone cooking a barbecue. She said she smelled smoke and then grabbed her son and tried to flee down the stairs, but the apartment building’s stairway was filled with smoke and flames.

“So I went to the balcony and jumped,” she said.

The three-alarm fire that broke out about 1 p.m. destroyed half of the 20-unit apartment building and drew firefighters from communities throughout the region.

Police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said Simoes jumped from a second-story patio deck at the rear of the burning building onto the grassy ground below. He said that when police and firefighters arrived at the scene, they were directed to Simoes by onlookers.

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