A Texas man has laid down his life to save others in an act of utter heroism on Christmas day. 36-year-old Eric Chambers rescued his fiancé’s entire family when a massive fire broke out at their Arlington home.
Eric and his fiancé Jacki Goulet had been wrapping presents early on Christmas morning when Chambers headed out to the garage. “I told him to turn the Christmas tree lights on because it seemed too gloomy in there,” she recalled to Fox 4. “He turned them on, and we went to the garage.” Just a few minutes later, Goulet’s 12-year-old son screamed that the house was on fire.
Chambers sprung into action, making sure that everyone in the house escaped the blaze unscathed.
“He made sure my mom got out and he got my aunt out,” Goulet said. “She’s handicapped, too. So she was scared. He made sure she got out. And as soon as she was coming out the door, he was yelling, ‘You got Hailey?! You got everybody?!’ And we’re like, ‘Yeah we got everybody!’”
After ushering all the occupants to safety, including the family dog, he reportedly dropped to the ground and fell unconscious. His partner recalled his final words:
“You could tell he was just in shock, just glad he got everybody out,” Goulet said. “Then, he just dropped. I was able to get him to walk two feet, and he dropped and said, ‘My face got burnt trying to get out the front door.’”
When fire crews arrived at 4:20 am they found Chambers unresponsive on the front lawn. He was rushed to Medical City Arlington hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later following numerous resuscitation attempts. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
The act of staggering bravery and self-sacrifice was no surprise to those who knew Eric.
“He put everybody before himself,” Goulet said. “He’s always been like that.”
“He knew what he was doing when he went in that fire to get everybody out,” said homeowner Jeanine Gabriel. “I say he’s a hero, and he’s gonna be an angel on your shoulder for the rest of your life.”
“We’re just thankful everyone else is okay,” Gabriel added, as reported by NBC.
Goulet explained how she had known Chambers for years, but that they had only recently begun dating, and decided to get engaged last month.
Goulet also stated that she would be changing her name to Chambers to honor Eric, who leaves behind three children of his own.
Friends of Eric have set up a GoFundMe page, seeking to help ease the financial burden of funeral expenses for the family. The fund will also help the grieving family rebuild their home and their lives – the fire caused around $46,000 in damage. Tragically, all of the kids’ Christmas presents were burnt up in the fire. A post on the campaign page reads:
“A good friend of mine passed away Christmas morning in a house fire. He continued going back in making sure everyone was safely outside. He was the last one out. Jackie Goulet’s mother’s home is inhabitable due to the fire and lives on a fixed income. There are 2 children without clothes, a home or gifts for Christmas, a girl age 7 and a teenage boy. Asking for donations for Eric’s (funeral costs) and Jackie’s family who lost everything.”
Just under $5,000 has been raised over the past three days, with a goal of $10,000.
You can donate here.