An Indiana man is being celebrated for his bravery after he ran into a raging fire at his home to save four children and an 18-year-old earlier this week.
Nicholas Bostic, a 25-year-old pizza delivery man, was walking past a home in the city of Lafayette around 12:30 a.m. Monday when he saw a two-story house on fire. according to a press release of the Lafayette police.
He was afraid people might be trapped inside, but he didn’t have his phone with him to call 911 and decided to go into the house himself, he told ABC 7 Chicago. As it turned out, five people were inside the house: four brothers aged 1, 6, 13 and 18, and another 13-year-old boy who stayed the night.
Bostic was able to get in through a back door, yelling to see if anyone inside could hear him. His screaming woke up his older brother, who in turn was able to wake up the two younger teens and grab his 1-year-old sister before Bostic led them outside to safety.
“For a minute I didn’t get it, but my sister ran upstairs with the baby in her hands and yelling at us to get up because there was a fire,” Shaylee Barrett, 13, told the Purdue Exponent. “And for a minute I froze and just stood there because I was confused. That’s when we went downstairs and Nick was downstairs helping us.”
But one child hadn’t made it out yet.
“I asked them if there was anyone left there, and that’s when they told me it was the 6-year-old boy,” Bostic told ABC 7 Chicago.
He went back inside, searching different rooms, under beds and in closets through what he described to journalist Dave Bangert as a “lagoon of smoke”.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but it was as if I accepted that I was probably going to die, right there, that night,” he said in an interview published in the journalist’s Substack. “But it was a strange calm. You just have to work as fast as you can.”
He eventually found the girl and pulled her out, drilling through a window to get out of the house that was engulfed in flames.
Police video from the scene shows Bostic falling to the ground after the rescue, exclaiming that he needs oxygen and asking, “Is the baby okay?”
Bostic went to the hospital for treatment for severe smoke inhalation and cuts to his arm from hitting the window, but has since been released. All occupants of the house escaped without serious injury. The family’s dog, Buffy, was also rescued by emergency medical technicians who arrived at the scene.
The fire department believes the fire started because of ashes that had been emptied into a bucket on the porch before they were completely extinguished, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.
The boys’ parents, David and Tiera Barrett, had been out on a date night and returned to find their house on fire surrounded by emergency vehicles. Both expressed immense gratitude to their community and to Bostic.
“I literally told him that he is part of our family now,” David Barrett told the Exponent. “And he was totally on board with that. Once we settle down somewhere, we’ll invite him and his girlfriend over for dinner.”
The police department called Bostic’s actions “nothing short of brave and heroic” and the city will honor him at an upcoming Lafayette Aviators baseball game, where ticket sales with the code FUND2022 will help fund Bostic’s medical expenses. Bostic. A Facebook fundraiser that Bostic confirmed on his own page to be legitimate had raised more than $21,000 as of Saturday.
Bostic has downplayed his own heroism.
“Like I keep saying, it’s not like I’m a superstar hero,” he told Bangert. “He was in the right place at the right time and, I guess, the right person.”