November 15, 2022 by Catherine Stack
The pizza delivery driver spotted the house fire past midnight, and he feared the home’s sleeping occupants might not wake up in time to move to safety. With no time to waste, he made the courageous decision to enter the home on his own without protective gear.
Nicolas gained entry through the back door. He rushed upstairs, yelling “fire!” throughout the home. The oldest child, Seionna, heard his screams and woke up. She roused her younger sister and a friend who had stayed the night. She then ran to grab her 1-year-old baby sister.
Nicholas called out to the terrified girls and instructed them to follow him. The sisters – Seionna, 18; Shaylee, 13; and Kaleia, 1 – and their family friend, Livian, 13, followed his directions to escape to the safety of the street.
“For a minute I didn’t understand it,” Shaylee recalled. “But my sister ran upstairs with the baby in her hands, yelling at us to get up because there’s a fire. That’s when we went downstairs, and Nicolas was downstairs helping us.”
Once outside in the fresh air, the girls shook in fear and coughed from the smoke. However, they soon realized that their 6-year-old sister, Kaylani, had not escaped with them. Without hesitation, Nicholas rushed back into the now flame-engulfed home.
He sprinted up the stairs and frantically searched for the missing girl under beds and in the closets of each room. He wouldn’t give up his search despite the thickening smoke obstructing his sight and his ability to breath.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but it was like I accepted I was going to probably die, right there, that night, “Nicholas explained. “But it was a weird calm. You just got to work as fast as you can.”
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Nicholas finally heard a faint cry coming from downstairs. He covered his mouth and nose with his shirt as he followed the voice. He crawled his way through the dense smoke to reach the whimpering child. Once he found her, he scooped her up and attempted to make his way to the back door.
He couldn’t see anything except a glimmer of light coming from the upstairs bedroom, so he quickly altered his route with a plan to escape from the bedroom window. As flames flickered at his feet, he broke the window’s glass with his bare hand. He covered the young girl in blankets to protect her from the flames. Holding Kaylani tightly, he braced himself and then jumped out of the second-story window. As he landed on the ground, he turned to his side and broke Kaylani’s fall with his own body.
The fire department arrived on scene as Nicholas landed on the ground. The little girl had not sustained injuries. Nicholas, though, suffered severe smoke inhalation, burns, deep gashes and bodily trauma from the fall. Emergency responders rushed him to the hospital for treatment.
The children’s parents, David and Tiera Barrett, were out on a date night when the fire erupted. They arrived home to find the house in flames. They had left their 18-year-old daughter in charge as babysitter for the evening. She and her siblings and their friend had fallen asleep hours before the incident occurred. The fire department continues to investigate the cause of the fire, but suspect that it started on the front porch.
The couple said they felt incredibly grateful to Nicholas for risking his own life to save their children.
“I don't like to think about what might have happened if Nick hadn't shown up. I'm grateful beyond words,” said David. He commented that he now considers Nicholas part of the family.
Nicolas said he doesn’t think of himself as a hero. “I’m glad I was there at the right time, the right place,” he said.
The city honored Nicholas for his bravery. Friends organized a GoFundMe account to help cover his medical expenses.
The Foundation For a Better Life and PassItOn consider Nicholas Bostic a true hero. His courageous and extraordinary actions exemplify the value of bravery. He unselfishly put himself in harm’s way to save the lives of complete strangers. Please help us honor Nicholas by sharing his inspiring story.
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