The first time Boston Fire Lt. Glenn McGillivray held 6-year-old Xavier Lara it was after the boy was dropped three stories from a burning building into the firefighter’s waiting arms.
But it doesn’t appear it will be the last time.
There were lots of hugs, and some tears, at the Egleston Square firehouse yesterday where Lara and his family were able to thank McGillivray and the other firefighters in person.
The family was one of many families trapped inside a series of Roxbury apartment buildings, which caught fire after a man allegedly tried to blow himself up in one of the apartments. The massive six-alarm fire took more than 150 firefighters several hours to put out.
As McGillivray and Lara’s grandmother, Judith Lamb, embraced she thanked him and said “you didn’t miss him.”
“You held on long enough for me,” McGillivray said.
Lamb said with no safe way out of her apartment building, she went to the window with her grandson and hung out over the window sill. The smoke was so bad, it burned her nose, she said. She held Lara outside the window as McGillivray and other firefighters positioned themselves. She said he was kicking and screaming and she had to lift his hand off of the window ledge that he grabbed on to.
“If you knew what it was like to be in there … It’s just something I can’t even describe,” she said. “It’s like I shouldn’t even be here to talk to you.”
Lara was given a Boston Fire shirt, pin and hat by McGillivray. The energetic boy smiled broadly as the cameras flashed and said it was “good” to meet the man who saved his life.
Arraigned from the hospital
Abdul Jabar Mohamed, 28, of Medford, pleaded not guilty from his hospital bed yesterday during his arraignment on arson and other charges.
Authorities said Jabar used natural gas to try to kill himself by blowing up a relative’s Roxbury apartment.
He is being treated for burns at Massachusetts General Hospital.