He always remembered
Mike Hughes was a firefighter for many years and experienced many things during his years of service. He is retired now, but he still often thinks about his rescue operations. There is one event in particular that he has always kept thinking about for the rest of his life…
Mike Hughes has faced hot fires throughout his career as a firefighter. When the phone rang at the barracks one day, he never thought it would impact him for the rest of his life…
A heavy fire
Ten years ago, Mike received a report that a family home was on fire. He and his colleagues arrived on the scene quickly and followed protocol. On arrival, the fire department saw that half of the house had already burned down.
The firefighters saw a house that was in danger of completely collapsing. Part of the house had not yet been absorbed by the flames and the firefighters decided to look for an entrance.
The team had a great responsibility. Fate was in their hands, something they were aware of. It was necessary to think and act quickly as the fire grew more and more intense. Despite the fact that this was the team’s typical workday, these types of rescue operations remain extremely important due to the possible consequences…
Action had to be taken as quickly as possible and this is exactly what the team of firefighters did. Finding an entrance was difficult due to all the smoke and burnt areas. Still, the team cleverly managed to create an entrance. The team had to go inside anyway so they could check that everyone had been evacuated.
Everybody did their part
Part of the team battled the fire while the other part managed to create an entrance. Mike was on the team that created an entrance. Upon entering, work was done quickly as the heat of the flames became increasingly intense.
Mike followed his gut and checked every place people could possibly be. He was going from room to room when suddenly he saw a sign of life among the flames.
Despite the adrenaline in Mike’s body, the firefighter knew how to restrain himself. He stayed focused and knew exactly what to do. He had seen that a mistake in this rescue operation could have enormous consequences.
In one of the rooms he saw a sign of life, a crib. When he looked into the crib he saw a baby. At the time, he never imagined the impact this baby would have on his life.
The baby was stuck in the crib and Mike realized he had to hurry. He realized that half the house had already burned down and it was only a matter of time until the last part was up. “I found the baby curled up in a crib in the bedroom,” Mikes Hughes said. He quickly rescued the baby from the crib and brought it to safety. He had rescued a nine-month-old baby.
Subsequently, Mike got the baby to safety as quickly as possible and went to help his colleagues with the rest of the fire. When the rescue operation was over, he didn’t know what had happened to the baby. He knew she would be in good hands for now, back with her parents.
Mike kept asking himself many questions about the rescue for the rest of his life. Things happened regularly around him that made him think about the incident. This was mainly because he had no idea what had happened to the baby. He couldn’t even remember the baby’s name.
Sometimes he even had sleepless nights because his thoughts were constantly focused on the well-being of the baby. How would he or she be doing now? Is it a boy or a girl? Could he or she have inhaled too much smoke after all? All questions Mike couldn’t find answers to.
Even after Mike had retired, he kept thinking about the rescue operation. It still kept him awake at times, and his loved ones began to worry. They saw that Mike had a hard time dealing with not knowing what had happened. Finally, Mike decided to investigate.
His search started with his colleagues from the fire service. Everyone could still remember the event but unfortunately no one could remember a name. They also had no other leads, much to Mike’s disappointment. However, the ex-firefighters could imagine what Mike was struggling with. Every firefighter has an impactful rescue they would never forget.
A first starting point
Mike’s longing was unstoppable until suddenly there was a lead. Mike has a very good relationship with his mother and he asked her for advice. His mother wanted to help her son. He could vent to her and said that he was thinking more and more about the baby from the rescue. He asked his mother if she had any idea how he could get information.
Mike’s mother is very proud of her son. The bond between the two has always been strong and she has always been his biggest fan. She has always been by his side, expressing great wonder at the many lives her son has saved. Including the baby…
The old newspaper reports
As Mike’s biggest fan, she kept a lot of papers that featured articles about her son. In Mike’s career he managed to end up in the newspaper several times. As they were going through the collection of newspapers together, Mike saw the paper that read “She’s alive”. This was the newspaper that could finally give him a little more clarity.
The newspaper was the perfect starting point for his search. Through this he was able to find out the whereabouts of the now grown baby. He had found out her name through the newspaper: Dawnielle Davidson. Finally a lead that Mike could continue with.
Mike continued his search via Facebook. This was the only thing he could think of to find the now 17-year-old. He didn’t get very far with just a name. There turned out to be a lot of people called Dawnielle Davidson. Still, Mike didn’t give up. He decided to send as many messages as possible to people named Dawnielle Davidson who were around 17 years old.
Mike had expected that only the real Dawnielle would respond. Nothing was farther from the truth: he got a lot of responses from different people. Unfortunately, these were all disappointing. The real Dawnielle was not among them. At least not right away…
Mike gradually began to lose hope. He got one message after another, but unfortunately these were all responses from people who didn’t fit Mike’s story. Then suddenly Mike got a reaction that changed everything.
Lots of confusion
The ex-firefighter had received a response from someone who could very well be the Dawnielle Davidson he was looking for. Dawnielle was very confused. She didn’t understand the context, partly because she was only nine months old when it all happened. “I was quite confused at first. I didn’t know all this had happened,” said Dawnielle Davidson.
Fortunately, her parents were able to give Dawnielle some clarity. They explained the whole story to Dawnielle and how she was rescued from a burning house as a baby. Still, both Dawnielle and her parents didn’t immediately trust Mike’s message. All he had sent her was, “Hi my name is Mike Hughes. I think I rescued you from a fire when you were a baby.”
Dawnielle and her parents were therefore a bit skeptical about Mike’s message initially. Still, they decided to respond. To make sure this really was the man who saved her life, Dawnielle asked a question that only the real firefighter who saved her could know. “She tested me.. She wrote back: Oh yeah, what was my mom doing?”
Put to the test
Mike was put to the test with a question about a detail from 17 years ago. The rescue had had such an impact on Mike’s life that he obviously knew the answer. He didn’t have to think for a second: “Well, she was at work and your father was there”. He hoped Dawnielle would believe him.
Not only was the family amazed that after all these years he had remembered this small detail, but that he also went looking for the baby he had rescued 17 years ago. They never imagined that Dawnielle’s rescue had such an impact on Mike’s life.
Dawnielle had heard parts of stories about the fire, but she’d never gotten the full story. She never expected that the fire and the rescue operation had had such an impact on the life of the firefighter in question. She only now realized how big Mike’s role in her life actually was. Without him she would never have been where she is today.
She decided to respond to Mike’s message. When he received confirmation from her that she was indeed the Dawnielle he rescued from a burning house 17 years ago, he was in shock. The ex-firefighter was moved to tears when he learned that the baby he had rescued all those years ago had grown into an adult in good health. This was just the beginning of a very nice friendship between Mike and Dawnielle .
Keeping in touch
Dawnielle and Mike kept in touch. They texted each other and kept each other informed about each other’s lives. Dawnielle told Mike about her school, hobbies and that she was an athlete. She was successful at running and field athletics and Mike couldn’t believe his luck hearing all the beautiful details of Dawnielle’s life. All this made Mike feel really connected to Dawnielle’s life. Both realized all too well that Dawnielle owed her life to him and how beautiful it was to meet after so many years.
Dawnielle was about to graduate and she wanted to share this important highlight of her life with Mike. Without him she would never have been able to go to school at all and the bond the two had built in such a short time was very important to her. She wanted to do something so he could be there. Also, they had never met in person and had only communicated with each other online. Dawnielle thought it was time to change that.
One day Mike opened his mailbox and saw a large purple and black letter. He didn’t know who had sent it, but as soon as he opened it, he thought of Dawnielle. The letter contained a photo, but Mike didn’t immediately realize that the letter had actually been sent by her. When he started reading, Mike became incredibly proud and couldn’t control his emotions.
The letter was an invitation to Dawnielle’s graduation ceremony. Mike was very surprised but also very happy. He decided to attend the graduation ceremony and was very proud of her. Being allowed attend this important event in her life didn’t just mean a lot to Mike. Dawnielle’s entire family was thrilled that Mike could be there for this important moment in Dawnielle’s life. When Dawnielle and Mike saw each other in person after the ceremony, tears went streaming down both their cheeks.
A good connection
“I don’t know how to describe it, it’s tears of joy and I realize it could have ended very differently,” Dawnielle said. At the time of her graduation, she was still deeply grateful to Mike’s team that saved her.
Mike added: “She was the third person I’ve dragged out of a fire in my career. So I always say: three times a charm!”. We are sure the Mike’s mother was prouder than ever and that Mike and Dawnielle will stay in touch for a long time.