(CNN) — A 7-year-old boy named Eli saved his baby sister’s life when he jumped into her room through a window to rescue her from a fire that destroyed his family’s home.
It was a typical night at the Davidson household in New Tazewell, Tennessee, on December 8. Chris and Nicole Davidson fed their three children dinner, tucked them into bed and were asleep by 8:30 p.m.
Hours later, Nicole Davidson woke up to the smell of smoke. Within minutes, the family’s home was up in flames — and 22-month-old Erin Davidson was trapped in her room.
While the couple was able to grab their 2-year-old son Elijah and Eli, who has been fostered by the family for nearly a year, Erin’s bedroom was surrounded by fire.
“The smoke and fire was so thick there was no way I could get to her,” Chris Davidson told CNN. “We went outside to get to her from the window, but there was nothing for me to stand on to reach up there. So I picked up Eli, who went through the window and was able to grab her from her crib.”
“We couldn’t be more proud of Eli,” Davidson said. “He did something a grown man wouldn’t do.”
And he did it just in time.
By the time 20 firefighters arrived on the scene, engulfed in flames. By the next day, “nothing was left,” New Tazewell Fire Chief Josh Miracle told CNN.
“I thought I couldn’t do it, but then I said, ‘I got her, dad,'” Eli told CNN. “I was scared, but I didn’t want my sister to die.”
The Davidsons have fostered 34 children, including Eli, and adopted two others — Erin and Elijah. Both Nicole and Chris Davidson are also former firefighters.
Now that the family is starting over “from scratch” — impacted by job loss due to the pandemic, the loss of Nicole’s grandfather and the fire — a GoFundMe was launched recently to help support them.
“We lost everything that we have ever had,” Chris Davidson said. “Our entire lives were in that home. Our three cars were also damaged in the fire.”
“It’s devastating. We have nothing,” he said. “You have never been as humble as you are when you don’t even have your own underwear to wear.”