It was a typical night at Davidson’s home in New Tazwell, Tennessee, on December 8th. Chris and Nicole Davidson fed their three children at dinner, put them to bed and fell asleep by 8:30 pm.
Hours later, Nicole Davidson woke up to the smell of smoke. Within minutes, the family home was set ablaze – and 22-month-old Irene Davidson was stuck in her room.
While the couple were able to catch their two-year-old son Elijah and Ellie, whom the family had been caring for for nearly a year, Irene’s bedroom was surrounded by bonfires.
“The smoke and fire were so dense that I couldn’t reach it,” Chris Davidson told CNN. “We went outside to get to her from the window, but there was nothing to stand on to get there. So I picked up Ellie, who went in through the window and managed to get her out of her bed.”
“We couldn’t be more proud of Ellie,” Davidson said. “He did something a mature man would never do.”
And he did it at the right time.
By the time 20 firefighters reached the scene, the fires were burning. The next day, “there was nothing left,” New Tazwell Fire Department chief Josh Miracle told CNN.
“I thought I couldn’t do it, but then I said, ‘I got it, Dad,” Elle told CNN. “I was afraid, but I didn’t want my sister to die.”
The Davidson family raised 34 children, including Ellie, and adopted two more children – Irene and Elijah. Both Nicole and Chris Davidson were former firefighters.
“We lost everything we had ever had,” said Chris Davidson. “Our whole lives were in that house. Our three cars were also damaged in the fire.”
“It’s devastating. We have nothing,” he said. “You have never been as modest as you are when you didn’t even have your underwear on.”