Toddler burned in house fire meets the firefighters who responded nearly one year ago

Posted at 3:43 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 10:22:48-05

A 3-year-old child, severely burned in a house fire, had the chance to reunite with the heroes who came to his rescue almost a year ago.

The incident happened on Dec. 1, 2016. 

“To see that image of a little boy, he's only this big, and he was severely burned,” Jon Steiner, District Chief of the Tulsa Fire Department said. He recalls the day he arrived to a house fire in south Tulsa. He remembers seeing the smoke and still feels the shock of a child wrapped in a blanket.

That day lingers in the back of the fire crew’s minds.

“To see your kid so vulnerable and out of your hands for the help they need, it's hard to comprehend,” Greg McCourt, a firefighter with TFD said. He remembers having to fight through the pain of knowing a child was injured to be able to put out the flames.

On that day, the streets were packed with fire trucks. Witnesses stood on street corners as flames tore through the seams of a garage. The news of a then 2-year-old boy fighting for his life was hard to imagine.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.

“It’s probably going to be a little bit emotional,” Steiner said. “Probably hit your heart pretty hard.”

Almost a year after the incident, the men of station 18 are a little anxious. After all, it's not every day you get to meet a little hero.

“[To] finally meet him will be pretty awesome,” McCourt said.

The fire crew waited patiently for Alex’s arrival to the station, all unsure of how the evening would pan out.

As Alex pulled up in the car with his family, it became clear this visit was going to be special as Alex yelled out, “Fire truck!”

On this day, nearly a year later, the platoon is finally able to replace the only memory they have of Alex with a joyous one.

For the 3-year-old, it was a fun day filled with big red trucks and getting showered with gifts, but for the crew, it meant so much more.

“We’ll be able to give him a couple little things that we just hope lighten the burden and show him that we do care and he means a lot to us,” Steiner said.

A day at station 18, one Alex and the platoon will never forget. An official badge given to Alex is the perfect memento to document the occasion. 

“You can be a fireman just like us.”

For the Stephenson family, meeting these men a year ago was complete chaos. It was the worst day of their lives.

But on this day, it’s a special gift.

“This isn't just a job for these guys,” Jacob Stephenson, Alex’s dad said. “It's what they do.”

Fast forward and we find them at station 18, celebrating a great day that'll be hard to beat.

Alex will undergo more surgery next month in Galveston, Texas.

To make the trip a little easier, the Tulsa Fire Department raised money to make sure the family could get gas and eat during their stay.

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