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'If it wasn't for them, I know I'd be dead,' says father saved from burning home with 3-yr-old son

Posted at 6:11 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 08:56:03-04

DETROIT (WXYZ)  — "I remember falling to my knees. I just gave up," Steven Lawrence told 7 Action News about the early morning fire on March 4 that had him running back into the burning house to find his three-year-old son, Jhayseion. "I couldn't move no more. It was just so much smoke."

Jhayseion's mother, Charlene McCall, was the first to spot the flames and awaken their other children and relatives.

Steven busted out a window in the back of the house, and handed their five children – ages 6 months to 7 years old – to Charlene who then called 911.

But then they realized little Jhayseion was still asleep inside.

Steven didn't hesitate to go back in, but he quickly collapsed from smoke inhalation.

"I didn't know what to do no more," said Charlene when Steven stopped responding from inside the burning house.

But then a firefighter tapped her on the shoulder. "I said they in there, please get them."

Steven remembers seeing nothing but smoke and falling to his knees. And when he regained consciousness, he was in Detroit Receiving Hospital.

"If it wasn't for them, I know I'd be dead. My son probably would have been too," said Steven when talking about the firefighters that carried him and his son out of the fire and to safety.

Today, those firefighters were among others honored for saving lives.

The family of seven is now living in a motel and trying to raise enough money through GoFundMe to replace some of the things they lost and find another place to call home. You can donate here.

Click on the video to hear the couple talk about escaping the fire and their gratitude to the firefighters who rescued Jhayseion and his dad.