FORT WORTH, Texas - A Fort Worth firefighter rescued a scared little boy from his burning house, leaving his family grateful just days before Thanksgiving.
The family lost everything in the fire, but they are extremely thankful everyone is safe.
When the fire started Friday night, they thought everyone got out. But they soon realized 4-year-old Julius was still inside.
That night, Paula August and her family were watching a movie while the grandkids were asleep in their rooms.
“Then I saw smoke,” the grandmother recalled. “I ran back in the house and said the garage is on fire.”
In the rush and confusion to get all three adults and five children outside, they realized Julius was missing.
“They said he’s not there,” August sad. “So I ran back in the house.”
The family searched helplessly for Julius in pitch black darkness and heavy smoke.
“You know your baby’s in the house. You know, but you can’t see. You can’t feel,” said Marian Abbs, the boy’s mother. “You can’t do anything but just search and feel in the dark and panic.”
The family searched until Fort Worth Fire Capt. Bobby Washington Jr. and his team arrived.
“I got my game face on,” he said. “I’m ready to go to battle. I’m ready to go to war. I’m ready to do whatever it takes.”
In nearly 30 years as a second-generation Fort Worth firefighter, Washington has made a few dangerous rescues.
“Time is of the essence,” he said. “So we’re meticulously searching but in a hurried fashion.”
Not all of them have had a happy ending, but this one did.
“I heard a child kind of whimper a little bit and looked around the bunk beds,” Washington recalled. “And there he was kind of standing in the corner.”
And though they’ve been left with almost nothing, Julius and his family appreciate what it means to have another day together.
“Family first. We love each other — with or without a house or home or cars,” Abbs said. “It’s us against the world. Me and my kids against the world. They’re all I got.”
The family is giving a message of thanks to Captain Washington.
They are staying in a hotel for now. Because of the damage to their home, they’re not sure if they’ll be able to return.