Two children have survived after jumping almost 40ft from their burning flat into the arms of rescuers below after their parents locked them inside without keys.
The dramatic scenes of the three and 10-year-old plummeting through the air were filmed in the eastern French city of Grenoble yesterday.
One rescuer, a 25-year-old student called Athoumani Walid, suffered a broken right arm because of the force of the catch, and said afterwards: ‘We really did save their lives!’.
He said that he heard them shouting in Le Villeneuve district of Grenoble, where he lives, and rushed toward the fire.
Mr Walid told the Parisien newspaper: ‘I saw the two children screaming. They were at the window on the third floor.
‘There was a lot of smoke, flames, explosions, even inside the building. The children were scared. They were crying.’
The oldest of the children, was heard to shout: ‘We don’t have the keys to go out. We don’t have the keys!’
As thick black smoke poured from the windows, the 10-year-old lowered the younger child out the window by his arms, and then let go.
A group of men on the ground then braced themselves, and caught both children after they fell.
Both children were completely unharmed, except for suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
Beyond Mr Walid, another man suffered an arm fracture, and the pair were taken to hospital for treatment.
An investigation was launched into the cause of the fire, and to why the parents had left the children, who have not been indentified for legal reasons, alone.
The video of the escape, posted on the Oumsa-Dia Twitter account, has been broadcast all over France, turning Mr Walid into a national hero.