boy facing fire
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 7, 2023 ·  2 min read

A 7-year-old boy went back into a burning home to save his baby sister

Few adults have the courage that this seven-year-old boy showed earlier this month. When his family’s home caught fire, it was young Eli who saved his baby sister from the flames. (1)

Boy Saves Baby Sister From House Fire

Late at night on December 8, 2020, the Davidson family’s home in New Tazewell, Tennessee caught fire. Mom Nicole was the first to wake up and smell the smoke. Flames completely engulfed the house just minutes later. (1)

Nicole and her husband Chris sprung into action, grabbing their 2-year-old son Elijah and 7-year-old foster son Eli from their rooms. (2)

“He [Chris] grabbed the fire extinguisher trying to buy me [Nicole] time to get the kids, and I grabbed the boys because they were closest to the fire,” recalls Nicole. (2)

Unfortunately the smoke was too thick for them to get into 22-month-old Erin’s room. (1)

“The smoke and fire was so thick there was no way I could get to her,” dad Chris Davidson told CNN. (1)

The family went outside, thinking that perhaps they could get to her from the window. Unfortunately, there was nothing for Chris to stand on and he couldn’t quite reach the window. Their only option was to lift Eli up so that he could crawl through the window and retrieve Erin from her crib. (1)

“I thought I couldn’t do it, but then I said, ‘I got her, dad,'” Eli explained. “I was scared, but I didn’t want my sister to die.” (1)

“It’s OK to be scared, but you’re brave inside and you can do it when you want to,” he added. (2)

Both Eli and Erin safely exited back through the window just in time. The house burned all through the night, with nothing left by morning. (1)

A Proud Family

The Davidson parents are, of course, extremely proud of Eli. He did something that many fully grown adults wouldn’t have the courage to do. A strong sense of family, however, is something that the Davidsons have always tried to instill in every one of the children they play a part in raising. (1)

Chris and Nicole have fostered 34 children, Eli is one of them. Elijah and Erin are both adopted. Clearly, Eli’s sense of dedication to his family is one that he learned from the love given to him by his foster parents. (1)

Help Needed

Nicole and Chris are both former firefighters who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. In a year that has already been a struggle for the family, they have now lost their home and everything that they own. (1)

“It’s devastating. We have nothing,” says Chris. “You have never been as humble as you are when you don’t even have your own underwear to wear.” (1)

They are now starting from nothing, and they need your help. A GoFundMe campaign was set up to help get the family back on their feet. If you are able, you can donate here.

Keep Reading: How a 7-year-old won the battle to make female toy soldiers


  1. A 7-year-old boy went back into a burning home to save his baby sister.” CNN. Alaa Elassar. December 27, 2020.
  2. Tennessee boy, 7, saves baby sister from fire that burned house down.” Fox News. Peter Aitken.