Undated photo of Chattanooga Fire Lieutenant Vernon Lane, released on Aug. 14, 2015.
City of Chattanooga/Reuters
August 15, 2015 11:01 AM EDT

Off-duty Tennessee firefighter Vernon Lane caught a baby thrown from the third-floor window of a building engulfed in flames.

The mother threw the 10-month-old baby before jumping herself to escape the fire after it ignited late Thursday, according to Lane, a Chattanooga fire lieutenant. Lane caught the baby before the mother landed on his back. Both survived without injury.

“I had to dive and actually catch the baby in my arms cause we both hit the ground at the same time,” Lane said at a news conference Friday, according Reuters.

Both Lane and the woman lived in the building that caught on fire. It took 50 firefighters to extinguish the flames, and Lane lost most of his possessions. But he is being heralded as a hero in Chattanooga.

“I was just doing my job,” said Lane. “It’s my instinct to help.”


Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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