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UPDATE: Toddler burned in fatal fire meets the heroes who saved him

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Tyler Jackson meets the firefighters who save his life in April. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com Tyler Jackson meets the firefighters who save his life in April. Photo by Dan Kennedy/WRCBtv.com
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: A local boy spent Monday morning meeting his heroes, the men who saved his life.

Back in April, a fire on Rawlings Street in Chattanooga trapped two young boys, killing 3-year-old Tyrell Jackson. But firefighters saved his brother, 2-year-old Tyler Jackson.

And Monday, for the first time since the fire, Tyler met those who risked their lives to save his.

"Just overwhelming," said Tyler's mom Shondell Jackson. "Nervous, excited, overwhelmed."

It's been a hellish nine months for Tyler Jackson and his mom Shondell. But it's finally time for the toddler's special day: the day he meets the firemen who forced their way inside his burning home and found him in the thick of the fire using thermal imaging cameras.

"Bravest thing ever to just go into a burning house," Shondell said.

Mom remembers back to Monday, April 1. The day the firemen saved youngest son Tyler and the day the fire took her oldest son Tyrell.

"Last night I was looking at pictures from Christmas last year and I just cried my eyes out," she said.

"Every time you like at Tyler, he talk like Tyrell, he act like Tyrell. It's like Tyrell is still here, in my heart," said the boy's Grandmother Georgetta Jackson.

Tyler's Grandmother said she'll always miss Tyrell. But organized today's meeting to thank the firemen for saving Tyler's life.

"They took a chance on their lives just going in there and trying to save them. We didn't want to send no cards, no nothing, we wanted to do it in person," she said.

Nine months ago, Captain Randy Steele was riding in the ambulance with Tyler. In his 13 years with the department, he said this is his first reunion.

An emotional first reunion with the kid he helped save.

"We're really grateful to have the opportunity to meet Tyler," said Capt. Randy Steele. "It's amazing to see him. You know, the last time we saw him he was in more pain than anyone should ever have to be in. Seeing him go from that position to him laughing and smiling is just amazing."

"To see the love, to see the love. You could tell they love what they do. And the smile they had on their face for Tyler, put a smile on mine," Georgetta said.

Tyler still has a long road to recovery. He spent five months in an Augusta, Ga. burn unit and was released in September. But his family said he was back at the burn center last week for surgery on his arm and is scheduled to make the trip back south this week for a checkup.

"To him, when he look in the mirror, he just sees Tyler. He doesn't see no burns, no nothin," said Georgetta.


 

ORIGINAL STORY: On Monday Tyler Jackson, 2, met the men and women who put their lives on the line to rescue him and his brother from a house fire in April. Tyler lost his brother that day but, as he'll find out, gained a new set of guardians.

The fire occurred at a home on Rawlings Street April, 1. The home was engulfed in flames trapping two little boys, Tyrell and Tyler Jackson. Their mother, Shondell, helpless to save them.

"Everybody really was running around here frantic trying to help her but we couldn't do it ourselves," says one witness.

Fire fighters forced their way into the home despite the windows being blocked by security bars. Using thermal imaging cameras they searched for the little boys. One by one they were found and carried out but for Tyrell it was too late.

Since the fire Tyler has spent months in an Augusta, GA burn center. He was critically injured in the flames. His recovery is far from over but if it weren't for the fire fighters who found him he too would of perished in the blaze.

Monday morning Tyler, his family and the firefighters who saved him will share stories, hugs and possibly a few tears. Channel 3 was there for the emotional reunion.

 

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