We can get our bodies to do some pretty amazing things, but we’re not indestructible. Even so, some people are seemingly less vulnerable than others.
When one driver saw a pillar of smoke emanating from a home on the street he was driving, he knew he was in the right place to make a difference. But as he ran headlong into the burning building to rescue a pregnant woman and child, the explosion that followed had all those watching think the worst.
The fire was raging so fiercely that onlookers thought those trapped inside were goners for sure.
On April 7th, a raging fire broke out in a home in the suburbs of Indianapolis’ West Side. The fire trapped a pregnant woman and young boy on the second story of their home.
The fire was so strong that eyewitnesses were sure the two were already gone.
“There was so much smoke, so much flames, you couldn’t see nothing,” Kany Reitsma, an eyewitness, told RTV6.
As she watched the house burn, her husband called 911.
But the fire was spreading too fast—there was a chance EMT and firefighters would not arrive on-time.
Thankfully, there was another ready to face the danger.
Almost three minutes before first responders could arrive, a brave driver saw the smoke and pulled over. That stranger was Travis Powell.
“He immediately ran into the back door,” Reitsma said.
He kicked in the back door and, braving the smoke and flames, Powell ran up the stairs to reach the trapped individuals.
“I straight kicked both of their doors in,” Powell said.
Eyewitnesses thought Powell was a goner—especially after the explosion.
“We didn’t really think he was going to make it out,” Reitsma said. “As soon as he went in there was an explosion.”
But Powell knew what he was doing. Powell ran up the steps to the second floor. Once he reached the boy, Powell smothered and protected the child from the blast.
“I let the glass hit me and covered his head,” Powell said.
He then located the pregnant woman who was on fire. After patting out the flames, he wasted no time and pulled them both to safety.
Powell’s intercession was more than a little timely.
“As soon as we got down, they were all thanking me,” Powell said.
But Powell was no stranger to this kind of work; he has experience serving as a volunteer firefighter. It was this experience, as well as his timely arrival, that allowed him to save lives.
And he was sure that without his help things would have been much worse.
“They would have lost their lives,” Powell said.
It was a sentiment shared by Reitsma, who watched the entire rescue from the street.
“I don’t think the people would have lived,” Reitsma said. “I didn’t think he was going to live after he went in.”
And despite the dangers, he would do it all over again.
Thanks to Powell’s daring rescue, no one lost their life in the blaze. The only injuries suffered were by two firefighters who received minor wounds battling to put the fire out.
Powell also received some wounds; he was recovering from the ill-effects of smoke inhalation and received numerous cuts. Though mostly unharmed, he was lucky—it could have turned out much worse.
However, though his rescue was fraught with peril, it didn’t change his iron resolve to do the right thing.
“I know if I died, I’d know where I’d [go],” Powell told RTV6. “I’d be with my family.”