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Watch a man rescue a 6-year-old girl out of a home fully engulfed in flames and a 'black lagoon' of smoke

INSIDER 7/15/2022 lloydlee@insider.com (Lloyd Lee)
Nicholas Bostic, a 25-year-old Lafayette, Indiana, man, pulled a 6-year-old girl out of a home engulfed in flames. Lafayette Police Department © Lafayette Police Department Nicholas Bostic, a 25-year-old Lafayette, Indiana, man, pulled a 6-year-old girl out of a home engulfed in flames. Lafayette Police Department
  • Nicholas Bostic, 25, was driving when he noticed a house catch fire in Lafayette, Indiana.
  • He stopped and ran inside to find four people asleep and helped them evacuate.
  • Bostic went back in the house fully engulfed in flames after he learned a 6-year-old was still inside.

Nicholas Bostic, a 25-year-old man from Lafayette, Indiana, is being recognized as a local hero for his quick-thinking actions that saved five children on Monday, including a 6-year-old girl, who by then was stuck in a house engulfed in flames and filled with a "black lagoon" of smoke, according to the Lafayette Police Department.

"If it wasn't for Nick's actions, these children would not be alive today," Chief Richard Doyle of the Lafayette Fire Department told Insider.

In dramatic footage posted on Instagram by the Lafayette Police Department, firefighters can be seen hastily preparing to head inside the burning house after they learned a 6-year-old was still inside. But before they could make a rescue attempt, Bostic emerged from the back of the home, visibly exhausted, with a crying girl in his arms.

A post shared by Lafayette Police (IN) (@lafayetteinpd)

 

Police called his actions "heroic" in a press release and said that Bostic would be honored at a local baseball game.

"His selflessness during this incident is inspiring, and he has impressed many with his courage, tenacity, and steadfast calmness in the face of such perilous danger," police wrote.

Bostic's involvement was happenstance. 

According to police, he was driving by the house around 12:26 a.m. local time, when Bostic noticed a small fire. Chief Doyle said the fire was limited to the front porch when his department received the first call from a neighbor.

"He immediately stopped in the roadway, threw his car in reverse, turned around, and pull into the driveway," Lafayette Police Department wrote in a press release.

Authorities said that Bostic could not call 911, so he instead immediately rushed to the back of the home to go inside. Around 12:30 a.m., a neighbor across the street called in the fire.

When inside, Bostic yelled and heard no response, making him initially think that everyone was evacuated. But the 25-year-old took no chances, police said, and investigated further.

When he went upstairs, Bostic found four children from the ages one to 18, asleep, according to Doyle.


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But his rescue effort was not over. After learning that a 6-year-old girl was stuck inside, Bostic rushed back into the house that by now "was fully involved" in the fire, Doyle said.

"Our engine's house was just a few blocks away but fires can increase very rapidly," he said.

Bostic started his search upstairs but could not find the child. When he tried to go back downstairs, he was confronted with a "'black lagoon' of smoke," making him think it would be impossible to go down, police wrote.

Bostic then moved to a window upstairs to leave the house until he heard a child's cry downstairs.

"He knew he was there to get that child out, and even though the fire and smoke downstairs frightened him, he would not quit," police wrote.

Bostic wrapped his shirt around his mouth and nose and went downstairs essentially blind.

"He described it as so black that he couldn't even see anything in front of him, and the heat from the fire made it seem as if he was walking into an oven," police said.

Bostic crawled his way to the sound of crying and found the young girl.

Due to the pitch-black smoke, he could not quickly find the back door out of the house. Bostic was forced to go upstairs and exit through a second-story window, authorities wrote.

"In his haste, the child's leg became enabled in the pull cord to the blinds," police said. "Nicholas recognized that he was rushing and calmed himself down. He untangled the string and jumped from the window ensuring he landed on the side where he was not holding the child."

Bodycam footage shows Bostic clearly out of breath and exhausted. He suffered from severe smoke inhalation and broke his arm, Doyle said. A GoFundMe page has been set up by his cousin.

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The source of the fire is under investigation, but it appears to have been an accident, according to Doyle. The fire chief could not speak on where the children's parents were at the time.

"I've been on the job 39 years and we have had a number of situations where bystanders and civilians saved people's lives," Doyle said. "But this is at the top of that scale."

First responders typically discourage people from running inside a burning home. But in this case, Bostic's actions saved lives and it exemplified how people should always be prepared to respond to emergency situations and have an early-warning system such as a smoke detector, Doyle said.

As emergency personnel treated Bostic, the man could be heard in the video asking: "Please tell me that baby's ok."

The girl experienced minor injuries, Doyle said, and was released from the hospital quickly.

"You did good, dude," one first responder said.

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