The 39-year-old father braved the fire in an attempt to save his 12-year-old son.
A 39-year-old father has passed away like a hero while trying to rescue his 12-year-old son from a devastating fire that broke out in their residence in Morgan County, Georgia on Friday. According to WSBTV Atlanta, the man has been identified as Thomas Hawk, a friend of the family has informed the outlet that the father rushed inside the family’s burning home to save his son Eric.
The 12-year-old had cried out frantically for help as he was trapped in his bedroom and Hawk was helping his father and grandfather to shift some furniture next door, as per Morgan County Citizen. Responding to his son’s calls immediately, Thomas reportedly "ran straight into the home's carport entrance" which has already been engulfed by flames. Thomas’s father, Tommy, spotted Eric calling for help while beating on his bedroom window which was blocked by an AC unit and Eric had no clear path to get out by himself. Tommy managed to "rip the AC window out" and get Eric to safety out of the house.
Morgan County Fire Chief, Jeff Stone, informed the paper that "Tommy said he was almost thrown to the ground from the fire. It was so intense." Later they discovered Thomas "deceased" outside his son's bedroom door. The fire officials believe that "smoke and heat inhalation" could be the possible cause of Thomas’ death and he might have died before the flame touched him. They also believe that Thomas might have run through the flames, "holding his hands over his face" while attempting to rescue his son.
According to PEOPLE, Thomas did not survive the tragic accident but his son Eric made it through and is currently "in an induced coma" as he recovers from smoke inhalation in a burn unit in Augusta. A family friend of Hawk’s, Leigh Matthews, has started a GoFundMe page to raise at least $40,000 to help the family carry Eric’s medical expenses and Thomas’s funeral costs. She wrote on the community page: "The Hawk family is mourning the sudden and devastating loss of husband and father Thomas Hawk. His wife, Amanda, and two children, Mackenzie and Eric are in need of all contributions monetary, material and spiritual."
"He always offered to help anyone and everyone. Thomas will be missed by all that knew him. Please find it in your heart to contribute to Thomas' family as they adjust and navigate their new normal," the post continued. During the incident, Thomas’s wife Amanda was out shopping for Christmas with their 17-year-old daughter Mackenzie. Upon receiving the devastating news, Amanda took to her Facebook page and wrote: "Definitely one of the worst phone calls I have ever received. Thomas Hawk will forever be my best friend, but now I call him my hero because he was trying to get to Eric."
The officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, as told to Morgan County Citizen by Fire Chief Jeff Stone.
Cover Image Source: Thomas Hawk / Facebook