California Grandmother Credited With Saving Tot from Fire

Authorities said the 51-year-old clutched the boy as she bailed out of a second-story window.


SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. --

A grandmother in North Highlands is being called a hero for saving herself and her 3-year-old grandson from an apartment fire early Monday, fire officials said.

Authorities said Jo Ann Conner, 51, clutched the boy as she bailed out of a second-story window to escape the intense heat.

The blaze was reported shortly after 2 a.m. at the Oak Valley Apartments on Harrison Street and Palm Avenue.

Eight apartments had to be evacuated. Everyone was able to escape, except for Conner and the child.

Conner was faced with running through a wall of flames that blocked the front stairs or jumping out of a window.

"I'm like, 'I can't get out! I can't get out!'" said Conner, recalling the moment she was faced with the flames. "So, I turned around and ran back in the room, forgetting to close the door like they tell you. Next thing I know, a big pillar of smoke and fire just came like somebody just shot it out at you. ... But I grabbed him and hugged him and just fell out backwards like I had a parachute or something."

Conner landed on an air conditioner below.

"The reality is the heat is 2,000 degrees plus, and it can't be survived for even seconds," said Jeff Lynch, spokesman for Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District. "So, she made the right move."

Conner suffered a cut to her knee and received medical treatment at University of California, Davis Medical Center. The child suffered only scrapes and bruises.