Terrifyingly, the three-month old baby had just been dropped from the third storey of a burning building in Dublin by her father, Derek Healy.
Mark, 20, said he was sitting on a wall in Gloucester Place, off Sean McDermott St early yesterday morning when he heard screaming.
He turned around and saw that one of the terraced houses was on fire.
Six people were injured in the fire, including the baby’s mother, Charlene Murphy, who broke her leg and jaw after jumping to safety.
Mark saw the baby’s father reach out of the top floor window with the baby in his arms.
“He just dropped the baby down to me so I just had to dive in,” he said.
The fire happened at about 5am and it was still dark. Mark could see the baby’s white blanket but there was smoke from the fire so it was hard to judge what way the baby was coming.
“I ran up and I could see a man in the top window holding the baby out the window at arm’s length as the smoke poured out around them.
“He shouted ‘catch the baby’ and just as I was getting there, he dropped her. I had to clear a wall at the front of the house to catch her,” he said.
“My heart was pounding. I just thought of nothing else except catching that child.
“When I caught the baby, I went down a bit, like when you are catching a ball, to make sure I caught her nice and easy.”
Mila just smiled and giggled when she landed in Mark’s arms. “She thought it was all a bit of fun,” he recalled.
She was taken to Temple Street Hospital for observation, but is understood to be uninjured.
Later, Derek thanked everyone for all the good wishes sent to the family by text and email.
“We’re all doing okay. Thanks to everyone in the Diamond for all the help and the two lads who were on the scene first and helped us with Mila. Life Savers. X,” Derek wrote on his Facebook page.
Four adults and two children were taken to hospital after the fire. They included Charlene’s mother, Edel Murphy, her sister Lola, 2, and brother Gary, 17.
After the baby was rescued, neighbour Wayne Kearns and Mr Furlong’s cousin, Aaron, ran to the back of the blazing building.
Derek and Charlene had jumped from the upstairs windows. Charlene injured her leg and mouth after falling awkwardly onto a sloped tiled roof at ground-floor level.
Aaron said he and Wayne pushed Gary and Lola over a garden wall and into a neighbour’s garden when they got them out of the house.
When they were getting Edel out of the door, the windows blew out.
Aaron was thrown against a wall in the blast and said later it was incredible that nobody died.
Six units of the fire service and three ambulances attended the scene of the fire that was well alight when they arrived.
Lord Mayor Christy Burke said he had managed to get all of the three families affected by the fire rehoused within a quarter of a mile radius of their home yesterday.
A local fund-raising committee has been established to help all those affected by the fire.
Mr Burke said he would be recommending that all of the local men who played a leading role in the rescue operation for the national bravery awards.
“They did a great job. There would have been fatalities had those young men not taken action,” he said.
Gardaí from Store St station carried out a technical examination of the scene to determine if a further investigation is needed.