Colin Walker, Michelle Coleman, and their children lost everything in a devastating house fire. The family of Midlothian, Scotland, is now trying to heal from the ordeal. The brave dad is being hailed as a hero for saving his family.
Talking to The Epoch Times, Colin’s brother Robert, 34, explained what happened next.
“It is a miracle that everyone survived this with only broken bones,” Robert said in a text message.
On Oct. 25, waking to a strange sound and a flame-filled hallway, Colin attempted to reach the front door but got caught in an explosive backdraft. Sustaining injuries to his eyes, Colin retreated.
As the apartment was filled with thick smoke, Colin made the decision to jump from the window instead.
“[Colin] displayed incredible courage and quick-thinking to intentionally land on his stomach so that he could avoid damage to his legs and arms,” Robert said, “allowing him to catch everyone else in his family before the fire consumed them.”
“He is in a hospital with internal injuries as well as not being able to walk and back problems but thankfully is expected to make a full recovery in time,” Robert said.
“My brother’s entire body is in a bad way and the doctors and nurses at the hospital have no idea how he survived,” he added.
One-year-old baby Flynn was “black with smoke from head to toe” after being thrown from the window into dad Colin’s arms. The force of the fall nonetheless caused the baby to break his leg.
Kaiden, 9, and his friend who was sleeping over fell hard onto Colin. Carly-Rose, 6, fell without serious injury. Erin, 13, was frozen with fear so jumped with her mother, Michelle, 37. The oldest sibling, Skye, was not in the apartment at the time.
“Michelle and Erin jumped together as they only had seconds to spare before the ceiling caved in. This resulted in both of them breaking bones,” Robert said.
“I can’t imagine the fear the kids must have been feeling during this traumatic event.”
A spokesperson told the Edinburgh Evening News that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service arrived on the scene to assist residents as they worked to extinguish the fire.
Robert said that at first, crews assumed that the family’s dog, Rory, hadn’t made it out alive, but he was soon found in a safe hiding place.
“He is in safe hands now and it’s nothing more than a trip to the vets for him,” Robert said.
Colin was admitted to the hospital with internal injuries and back problems, unable to walk. He needed four-hour eye surgery to repair the damage from the backdraft, and still cannot look into direct sunlight.
The family has been rehoused in nearby Bonnyrigg. All broken bones are on the mend, although doctors have indicated that baby Flynn may need followup surgery later in life.
Colin, a coach at Loanhead Youth Football Club, checked himself out of hospital despite persistent injuries to be reunited with his family and his young team, all of whom were eager to see him, Robert said.
“The hardest pill to swallow is that now they do not have a single possession in this world,” Robert said. “No house, no clothes, and all the kids’ toys and Christmas presents that they will never get to see are gone.”
Pleading with well-wishers to donate “anything at all,” Robert started a GoFundMe page to help support Colin, Michelle, and the kids as they rebuild their lives. To date, the fund has more than tripled its original 1,000 pound sterling (US$1,345) goal.
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