A Las Vegas, Nevada, man has introduced his two-year-old son to the firefighter who pulled him, the dad, from a burning home 23 years ago — inspiring him to become a firefighter himself.
“When I was 2 years old my house caught on fire & I was trapped inside, I ended up dying that day & this firefighter, Jeff Ohs, saved me from that building & brought [me] back to life,” Xavier Lewis, 26, wrote in a tweet on May 30 that went viral.
“Now 23 years later, he is holding my 2-year-old son,” he added. “I literally wouldn’t be here without him.”
“Dude!!! You are a fighter through and through” Ohs replied to Lewis’ tweet.
“And honestly you scared the s— out of me that day. So blessed for the outcome. Love you guys,” Ohs added.
“We did our thing. We stretched lines and we made entry. We were able to knock the bulk of the fire out pretty quickly.”
Ohs said there was no indication, in the chaos, that anyone was inside the house, but he decided to do a quick search of the home just in case.
“That’s when I came face-to-face with him,” Ohs said. “It actually kind of shocked me. It was like, ‘Holy s—, this is a kid.'”
Lewis, a toddler at the time, was on the floor and was unresponsive, according to Ohs.
He grabbed his camera and documented the tense moments as they unfolded — resulting in award-winning images later that year, Hardman said.
“When Jeff [Ohs] came out with that baby in his hands, I didn’t even think about the police line,” Hardman said.
Lewis was then transported to the hospital.
“I’m actually able to appreciate my life and everything that everybody else has gone through for it.”
— Xavier Lewis
“The first real big impact it had on me was when we got to the hospital and I passed him off to the hospital staff because [my] son is about six months younger than Xavier,” Ohs said.
“They had to work on his breathing and try to prevent him from developing any other complications like aspiration or pneumonia or anything like that,” Ohs remembered.
Ohs responded quickly by enacting CPR before rushing the young boy to the ambulance. (Kendall Hardman)
“He was not burned. It was all smoke related,” Ohs said.
For the first day or two, Ohs said he called the hospital to check on Lewis.
Ohs met Lewis’ mom and dad at the hospital several times — and Ohs said they were very grateful to him.
When Lewis was finally released from the hospital, he got a special ride home.
“We actually brought him home in the fire engine,” Ohs said. “But he had no idea what had happened because he was so little. We even went to an awards luncheon together, and Xavier and my son Kyle just played together underneath the table.”
“My mom told me that he saved my life and everything,” Lewis told Fox News Digital.
“She would always take me to go see him. I have newspaper articles and everything from the day it happened.”
“It was kind of overwhelming,” Ohs said. “It’s funny because his face just looks the same to me. But he is like 6’2” and he is a full-grown man with own family and child and stuff.”
Now that he’s older and has a child of his own, Lewis said he can better process what happened 23 years ago.
“I’m actually able to appreciate my life and everything that everybody else has gone through for it,” Lewis said.