Catoosa Dad Clings To Life After Rescuing Son From House Fire
CATOOSA, Oklahoma - A Catoosa man is barely clinging to life after racing into his burning home Saturday night, to save his 9-year-old son.
At first, James Girdner, who's known as "Scooby," thought he was fine. Other than singed hair and eyebrows, he didn't seem badly injured, but as time passed, the effects of smoke inhalation set in. Doctors are now saying they've done everything they can do for him.
When firefighters got to the house fire in Catoosa Saturday, April 20th, the flames were shooting out of the front bedrooms and living room, and the heat was extremely intense.
"There was two propane bottles on the front porch. It got hot enough, they were blowing off, so we had an intense, hot fire at the front of the house in the beginning," said Chief Denus Benton.
Scooby and some friends were sitting outside around a small bonfire, far from the house when his family said Scooby went inside and lit a gas wall furnace to take the chill off, since his 9-year-old son, Garrett, was inside, asleep on the couch.
He went back outside and a short time later, a neighbor noticed smoke and fire coming from the house. The family said they believe it was a gas leak from the furnace that caused the fire.
The neighbor tried to go in and save Garrett, but the flames were too much.
Scooby ran in the back door and through the house to Garrett, then grabbed him and got him outside.
"We all like to say we would do that when they're in that situation, but if you really do it, that means something," Benton said.
Other than the singed hair, Scooby thought he was fine, but as time passed, he got worse and worse and had to be hospitalized.
His family said he's having a terrible time breathing, he went into kidney failure, and now doctors have him heavily sedated in a paralyzed state. The fire chief said the doctors aren't sure if he's going to make it.
"It's not really the fire that hurts somebody, it's the intense smoke and particles that are burning--gets into your lungs, actually takes a while to shut your lungs down," Benton said.
His family said Scooby is always making people laugh, loving his family, but now he's struggling to fight through the terrible damage the smoke did to his body.
The family was all at the hospital Monday night, keeping a close watch on Girdner. They are hoping for the best.
They said Garrett is doing fine and wasn't injured, at all, thanks to his dad.
The family's home was destroyed by the fire.
They lost everything and didn't have insurance, so a benefit fund has been set up at the RCB Bank at 1727 North Highway 66 in Catoosa, under the name Girdner Family.