Re­gion Model HS se­nior in burn unit after house fire

By

The Standard Journal - - REGION - KEVIN MYRICK

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.”

Jeremy Ste­wart/RN-T

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.

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