Region Model HS senior in burn unit after house fire
Leighanna Beck of Rome said Sunday she lost nearly everything in a house fire this weekend.
But “the stuff,” she said, can all be replaced.
The life of her youngest son who was narrowly rescued from the blaze at their 2129 Calhoun Road home by a complete stranger Saturday morning — that’s a different story.
The mother of injured Model High School senior Edward “Eddie” Baker spoke about her son’s condition after he was flown to a Cobb County hospital, and of how she feels she can never repay the man who saved his life.
Baker, 18, was still being treated for severe smoke inhalation, cuts and burns to his back late Sunday at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center of the Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell.
“He’s got tubes down his throat and in his side,” said Beck. “He’s been coming to, but they’ve kept him pretty out of it. He’s going to be OK, I just know he’s going to be OK.”
Baker was rescued from the home at around 11 a.m. Saturday by Andy Reaves, an employee of Loyd’s Towing and Auto Repair. Reaves was driving by with his family when he saw the smoke and flames and stopped. He beat the fire crews to the scene.
Beck said she was at work when she learned of the blaze.
“I had left for work not too long before the fire,” she said. “I asked Eddie if he wanted to go to his grandma’s next door or if he just wanted me to lock the door. He said to just lock the door, so I left with him being there, not knowing what was going to happen.”
Beck said after hearing the news she rushed home and found most of her house engulfed in flames.
Her son was being loaded into an ambulance to Floyd Medical Center. He was later flown via helicopter to Wellstar Cobb Hospital.
“It was that fear of not knowing at first,” she said. “That’s my baby. Eddie gets so upset when I call him that, but he is.”
In the midst of the event, Beck learned Reaves used an axe to chop an opening in the door to save her son.
Reaves pulled Baker — who is approximately 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs nearly 300 pounds — through an approximately 16-inch gap.
“Eddie had broken the windows out of the French-paned door,” she said. “I was told later that’s what caused a vacuum and caused smoke and flames to be pulled towards him. He has second- and third-degree burns on his back and had 24 stitches put in his stomach and nine in his left arm. If that man hadn’t pulled him out, well, lord knows what would have happened.”
The fire, she said, is believed to have started in the kitchen.
“Eddie’s bedroom is just next door,” she added. “Firefighters think it started from faulty wiring.”
Beck expects that Baker should be able to come home in the next few days.
“He’s graduating high school this year, so teachers, counselors and even the bus driver have called to check up on him,” she said. “His nephew has been just worried sick about him.”
And as for Reaves, Beck said she could never thank him enough for his act of heroism and kindness.
“The City of Rome should honor him some- how. Seriously, no one does that for people,” she said. “He’s a true hero. He’s our hero.”
Members of the Rome-Floyd Fire Department put water on hot spots near the roof of the house at 2129 Calhoun Road on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014.