For most people, the thought of what you would save if your house ever caught fire doesn’t go much further than a quick response to an icebreaker. But in the case of 25-year-old Nicholas Bostic, that question became all too real. The only catch—it wasn’t even his house. The Indiana native happened to be driving past a home in Lafayette around 12:30 a.m., during his shift as a pizza delivery driver, when he noticed that the two-story house was quickly going up in flames. Now, he is being hailed as a hero after saving the lives of the five children trapped inside the house fire.
As soon as he noticed the flames, Bostic stopped his car and quickly dove into action, fearing that people could be trapped inside the home. However, he didn’t have his phone on him to call 911 and didn’t want to waste time finding someone who could, so he took matters into his own hands and went inside the flaming house himself. He was able to get in the back door and immediately rushed upstairs, yelling about the danger as he went. When he reached the top of the stairs, he found the oldest of four siblings—ages 1, 6, 13, and 18—who was awoken by his shouting.
Thanks to Bostic’s warning, 18-year-old Seionna Barret was able to wake up her 13-year-old sister, Shaylee, and her friend, Livian Knifley, who was staying the night. Then the oldest teen grabbed her 1-year-old sister, Kaylani, and followed Bostic to safety outside “For a minute I didn’t understand it,” Shaylee shares, “but my sister ran upstairs with the baby in her hands and yelling at us to get up because there’s a fire. And for a minute I froze and I laid there because I was confused. That’s when we went downstairs and Nick was downstairs helping us.”
However, once they all made it outside, they soon realized that their 6-year-old sister was still in the rapidly-spreading blaze. Bostic ran back inside without hesitation, quickly heading up the stairs again to search in all the rooms, under every bed, and in every closet. His search seemed to be to no avail; but then, he heard a faint cry coming from the “black lagoon” of smoke downstairs. Though he was terrified, he swiftly covered his mouth and nose with his shirt and dove into the murky fog. “I don’t know how to explain it, but it was like I accepted I was going to probably die, right there, that night,” Bostic shares. “But it was a weird calm. You just got to work as fast as you can.”
He made his way through the unbearable smoke and heat on all fours, crawling toward the sound of the child’s cry. Once he finally got to the little girl, he cradled her to him and tried to make his way to the back door; but the smoke made it impossible to find. Thinking fast, Bostic decided to run towards the only other escape route he knew: the upstairs window. He broke the glass with his bare hand and fearlessly jumped out of the second-story window, landing on his side as he tried to shield the six-year-old from the brunt of the impact.
Harrowing police footage from the scene shows the 25-year-old as he dropped to the ground with the girl in his arms and staggered towards the officers, who had by then arrived at the scene. According to a release, Bostic was severely injured, “suffering from severe smoke inhalation and gravely cutting his right arm” during the heroic fire rescue. However, the little girl was “miraculously mostly uninjured.” Bostic was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries. The family dog, Buffy, was later rescued by EMTs who arrived to assist during the emergency.
The children’s parents, David and Tiera Barrett, were out on a date night when the incident occurred, and they were met with quite a horrifying surprise when they returned. But the couple couldn’t be more grateful to Bostic for the heroic lengths he went to save their children. “I literally told him he's now part of our family. And he was all on board with it,” David says. “Once we get settled someplace, we're going to invite him over and his girlfriend for dinner.”
But as for Bostic, he doesn’t consider himself a hero. ”I’m glad I was there at the right time, the right place,” the courageous 25-year-old says. “If [the] opportunity came again and I had to do it, I would do it…I knew what I was risking. I knew the next second it could be my life. But every second counted.”
The city will be honoring Bostic for his brave fire rescue during an upcoming Lafayette Aviators Baseball game. A percentage of ticket sales will also be donated to a GoFundMe account to help cover his medical expenses. A separate Facebook fundraiser and GoFundMe campaign started by Bostic’s family members have already raised more than $100,000 for the hometown hero between the two platforms. It goes without saying that every single penny is well deserved.
Nicholas Bostic, an Indiana pizza delivery guy, saved five children in a heroic house fire rescue.
Here’s the video to go along with the story. pic.twitter.com/TvZ5wzCg1f
— LafayetteINPolice (@LafayetteINPD) July 15, 2022
A statement released by police details the entire harrowing incident, including Bostic's brave jump from a second-story window to save a 6-year-old.
— LafayetteINPolice (@LafayetteINPD) July 14, 2022
Watch this video to hear Bostic's account of the entire house fire rescue.