Eli from New Tazewell, Tennessee, is only 7 years old, but he’s already earned the title “hero” and proven that you don’t have to share blood to be family.
The boy is currently being fostered by Chris and Nicole Davidson, who have fostered 34 children during their time together. Besides Eli, they also have two adopted children, a 2-year-old named Elijah and a 22-month-old named Erin.
On Dec. 8, the family went to bed but Nicole woke up shortly before midnight and immediately sensed that something was wrong.
“At about 11:30, someone woke me up, and I know it was God,” she told WVLT-TV.
A fire had broken out in the family home and was tearing through the living room. Chris and Erin, both former firefighters, were well-prepared for this emergency, and Chris used a fire extinguisher while Nicole rushed to save their two boys, who were reportedly closest to the fire.
But their daughter was in her room, in her crib, inaccessible thanks to the fire blocking their way.
“The scariest moment of my life was when I thought we couldn’t get her,” Nicole said, tearfully.
“The smoke and fire was so thick there was no way I could get to her,” Chris explained to 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.”
Eli was understandably frightened but said that he feared for his sister’s life.
“Well dad bust the window and then, and then I said ‘I can’t do it’ about two times and then, and then I said, and then I said ‘I got her, dad,'” he recalled.
“And then — and when we got down there, I said, I said, that I — I was scared but I didn’t want my sister to die.”
Thankfully, the family is all unharmed and doing well, but the family home is a complete loss. By the time firefighters arrived on scene, the entire house was on fire.
If they’d waited for backup, their story could be much more devastating.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Eli,” Chris said. “He did something a grown man wouldn’t do.”
This year had already been hard on the Davidsons, with Chris losing his job thanks to the pandemic. They are currently staying with family while they figure out what to do next.
“We lost everything that we have ever had,” Chris said. “Our entire lives were in that home. Our three cars were also damaged in the fire.
“It’s devastating. We have nothing. You have never been as humble as you are when you don’t even have your own underwear to wear.”
“I haven’t posted about what has went on this week,” Nicole shared on Facebook on Dec. 10, with a photo of their burned home. “I will forever be so grateful that my family is ok. I know it was God that woke me up.”
Eli’s heroics have not gone unnoticed, though. Even Phil Robertson commended the young man’s bravery.
“Some kids daydream about growing up to be heroes. This kid became one at age 7,” he posted on Dec. 19. “Kudos, little man.”
A GoFundMe was also started for the family. So far, over $353,000 of the $5,000 goal has been raised, which will be incredibly helpful as the family rebuilds and recovers.
Eli also had some words of wisdom to share, words that he has clearly lived by: “It’s okay to be scared, but you’re brave inside and you can do it when you want to.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.