INDIANAPOLIS — It's been more than a week since a fire broke out in the night inside Christine Culp's apartment building.
"I'm grateful that they were able to come and with the quickness that they did and saved our lives, truly. I am grateful," Culp said.
IMPD officers arrived within minutes. Police body camera footage shows Culp frantically working to get her kids out.
"The grace of God that I woke up in the middle of the night," Culp said. "I just ... as soon as all the flames and everything in the front room, I just grabbed the kids, went to my window, put up a blanket, kicked out the window and just called 911 and I just stayed on, praying and just staying on the phone with dispatch."
As the apartment filled with smoke, officers asked Culp to pass her two young children out the window and let go. Beneath the window, patrol officer Aaron Laird prepared to catch them.
"100% ready. I was willing to put myself at risk and I know the other officers were, also," said Laird, a patrol officer assigned to IMPD's Southwest District.
"I just kept praying. I just felt in my heart that my kids were in good hands if it's going to be the police or the firemen down there, you know what I mean? And, I don't know, just the faith of God and I did it. And I'm glad I did. We made it," Culp said.
With 3-year-old Elena and 2-year-old Ezekiel safely by her side, Culp got another chance to say thank you.
"Hi! How are you doing?" Culp said, greeting the officers, who were eager to say hello to the mother and her children.
"Hi Elena!" Laird said, waving hello to the kids.
The officers were thrilled to see the family in front of them, safe and sound.
"I just felt it in my heart, I just knew that you guys would save me and my kids. And I really appreciate it, truly from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, thank you," Culp said.
The officers' quick action gave Culp's daughter quite a story to share.
"Oh, she tells everybody, 'Mommy threw me out a window, we jumped out a window,'" Culp said, getting laughs from the officers.
Seeing smiles on faces, it makes the work well worth it. Officers passed out gifts, stuffed animals and toys to Elena and Ezekiel, hopeful these can help to make up some of what they lost to the fire.
"A lot of times, we don't get to see good outcomes of situations, given what we're called out to, so a situation like this, it feels good, it feels really good," Laird said.
After she and her family jumped through the fire, Culp said she's grateful to be here now to convey her appreciation.
"The grace of God and you guys, thank you so much, truly," Culp said.
"I'll remember this for the rest of my life and I hope she does, too," Laird said.
Culp said while the officers saved their lives, her family still lost their home and personal belongings. She started a GoFundMe to help her family rebuild. Click here to donate.
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