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Amazing catch saves baby.

Felix Vazquez is a New York City Housing Authority supervisor, but he recently made a catch infinitely more precious than any made by Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress or Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles. That's because Vazquez's catch was literally a lifesaver.

On the morning of December 15, Tracinda Foxe took her two older children, Raymond, 11, and Alexis, 9, to school. Returning home to her third-floor Bronx apartment, she took a brief nap with her one-month-old son, Eric, in her arms. She was soon awakened by the smell of smoke. As she related her story to the New York Daily News: "I thought about running for the front door but I couldn't make it. I closed the [bedroom] door but then me and my baby were trapped." Foxe's main worry was that her baby might be overcome by the smoke. Her window had protective guards over it, but she managed to squeeze Eric through the guards and hold him in the fresh air.

Vazquez and his employees could see the baby's perilous plight from where they were on the ground. Vazquez directed several of them to go to the apartment and positioned himself beneath the window.

Seeing Vazquez below, positioned like a football receiver, Foxe screamed, "Save my son, save my son," and dropped her baby to him. Eric tell 30 feet, right into Vazquez's outstretched arms, but he was still concerned about the tiny boy. "He wasn't crying, so I gave him mouth-to-mouth," Vazquez told the Daily News. "I felt like it was one of my own--I have three--and when he started crying, I felt even better."

Meanwhile firefighters Bobby Eustace and D.J. Martin of Ladder Company 27 broke into the smoky apartment to rescue the baby's mother. They gave Foxe air from an air pack and brought the woman and her baby to the nearby Jacobi Medical Center. Mother and child were treated and released.

Foxe encountered Vazquez when she returned to her burned-out apartment to salvage what possessions she could, and she had the opportunity to personally thank the hero. When a Daily News reporter asked her about the experience, she replied: "It's going to be hard, since I've lost almost everything. But most importantly, my baby is okay. I am so thankful."

At a city hall ceremony the following day, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded Vazquez the city's bronze medallion and praised him as a "heroic baby catcher." The New York Times reported that Mr. Vazquez, who is a catcher on his Housing Authority softball team, described his actions as "just one of those days that you happen to be there at the right time."

The Times reported that Mr. Vazquez received one additional honor: Tracinda Foxe asked him to be baby Eric's godfather.
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Title Annotation:THE GOODNESS OF AMERICA; New York City Housing Authority supervisor, Felix Vazquez's heroic life saver
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 23, 2006
Words:462
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