A 39-year-old dad in Morgan County, Ga., died trying to save his 12-year-old son from a tragic house fire that destroyed the family’s home, multiple outlets report.
According to WSBTV Atlanta, Thomas Hawk died on Friday night at his home, which is located off of Highway 83. A family friend told the outlet that Hawk was next door when the fire broke out, then ran into the burning structure to get his son Eric out.
Eric had called his dad after the home caught fire, according to the Morgan County Citizen, saying that he was trapped in his bedroom. The outlet noted that Hawk was helping his father and grandfather move furniture next door when he received a “frantic” call from his son.
At that point, the father reportedly threw his phone down and “ran straight into the home’s carport entrance,” which was in flames.
Tommy Hawk, Thomas’s dad, saw Eric beating on his bedroom window and calling for help, but the window was blocked by an AC unit, preventing the boy from getting out. Tommy was able to “rip the AC window out” and get Eric out safely from the burning house, according to the outlet.
When Tommy attempted to go into the home after his son, he was “thrown back” from the heat and flames.
“Tommy said he was almost thrown to the ground. It was so intense,” Morgan County Fire Chief Jeff Stone told the paper, adding that Thomas was found “deceased” outside his son’s bedroom door.
Thomas likely died from “smoke and heat inhalation” before the flames reached him, fire officials determined. Stone also reportedly said they believe he ran through the flames, “holding his hands over his face” in an attempt to rescue his son.
Thomas Hawk is survived by his wife Amanda Hawk, his daughter Mackenzie Hawk, and Eric, who is reportedly “in an induced coma” at a burn unit in Augusta as he recovers from smoke inhalation.
On Sunday, Hawk family friend Leigh Matthews started a GoFundMe for the family to help as they cope with their tragic loss, hoping to also assist with Eric’s medical costs as he recovers in Augusta.
“The Hawk family is mourning the sudden and devastating loss of husband and father Thomas Hawk,” the fundraising page reads. “His wife, Amanda and two children, Mackenzie and Eric are in need of all contributions monetary, material and spiritual.”
“We are asking that the friends, family and community come together and love on this family and support their needs. Thomas was a ‘family man’ who loved his family dearly.”
The page at the time of publish had already raised over $35,000 of the $40,000 goal.
“He always offered to help any one and everyone,” Matthews noted of the heroic dad. “Thomas will be missed by all that knew him. Please find it in your heart to contribute to Thomas’ family as they adjust and navigate their new normal.”
Thomas’s wife Amanda, who was out Christmas shopping with her 17-year-old daughter during the tragic incident, expressed her devastation to friends and family on her Facebook page:
“Definitely one of the worst phone calls I have ever received,” the wife and mother wrote. “Thomas Hawk will forever be my best friend, but now I call him my hero because he was trying to get to Eric.”
The cause of the fire is unknown but under investigation, Stone told the Morgan County Citizen.Ga. Father