The Burbank City Council on Tuesday honored the Burbank couple who saved – with a box-spring and some quick thinking – the three-year-old boy who plunged out of a third-story window in Burbank last month.
On the afternoon of Sunday, March 16, Jennifer and Konrad Lightner were moving out of their Burbank apartment to have it remodeled.
They’d just returned home from their first trip to the storage unit, where they unloaded a full U-Haul truck worth of belongings. In fact, they’d actually gotten stuck in the elevator and had to call the Burbank Fire Department to get them out.
But that wasn’t the last time Burbank firefighters would be hearing from the Lightners that afternoon.
Shortly before 5 p.m., the couple was carrying their box-spring to the U-Haul when they noticed a cluster of children’s toys on the ground: a princess pillow, blankets and other plush toys.
Three stories up, a boy and girl were sticking their heads out of the window, reaching their arms toward their toys.
“Stay inside, go get your parents,” the Lightners shouted up to them.
The couple said they actually wanted to run up and return the toys to the children, but they didn’t have a key to the kids’ apartment building, which was adjacent to their own.
That’s when the baby boy swung his leg over the windowsill.
Jennifer Lightner, 29, immediately dialed 9-1-1 while Konrad Lightner, 30, threw the box-spring over the toys and jumped on.
The boy’s fingertips were hanging from the windowsill, then from a cable cord, for about 40 seconds while Konrad Lightner prepared for the fall.
“It was tense,” Konrad Lightner said. But the boy landed perfectly in his hands.
“It was so surreal,” Jennifer Lightner said.
The boy cried before his parents came down, Konrad Lightner said.
“The parents are good parents – things just happen,” he added.
“It’s a blur,” Jennifer Lightner said. “Anyone would’ve done what we did.”
The strangest part, she said, was that she and her husband went right back to moving after the incident.
The Lightners moved to California seven years ago from Minnesota, and have lived in Burbank for three years. They’ve been married for eight months.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they were shocked.
“Konrad went above and beyond and acted in an incredible manner,” said firefighter Eric Rowley, who was honored this year as the fire department’s firefighter of the year.
Rowley was so impressed by the couple’s heroism that on the day of the rescue, he gifted Konrad Lightner his “challenge coin,” a Civil War era coin each Burbank firefighter carries around at all times.
“These guys don’t take that coin lightly – they don’t give it away lightly,” said Burbank Fire Chief Tom Lenahan.
The night of the rescue, and the following morning, the challenge coin was a reminder to Konrad Lightner that the surreal incident actually happened.
And he’s kept it on him ever since.
-- Alene Tchekmedyian, firstname.lastname@example.org