Upstate siblings give Christmas surprise to firefighters who saved their lives


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – A house fire destroyed a Campobello home in October, sending seven family members to the hospital.

Today, a single blue child’s sneaker and toys are still scattered against the backdrop of a charred shell.

As fire ripped through the home, a family dog alerted them, but smoke would force 6 kids – ages 4 to 18 – to the floor.

Fortunately, this story has a silver lining.

“That’s the best blessing you can have is to put a hand on a person and get them out,” said Deputy Gowensville Fire Chief, Rick Boykins.

Boykins was first on scene that night. Two of his men pulled kids out of a back window, while crews from 3 other fire departments put out the blaze.

“You can save structures all day long, save wood, and save buildings. You know, insurance pays for them. There is no insurance that pays for a life. When you get to bring back a life, it makes a big difference,” said Boykins.

Extended family tells 7 News that 3 children were on life support. One 9-year-old girl nearly died.

It is why a photo taken Tuesday night at one of the responding departments is so special to Boykin and everyone involved. The children – all of them happy and healthy this Christmas – made a stop at Gowensville, Landrum, Campobello and Holly Springs fire departments to say “thanks” for saving their lives.

“That’s worth it’s weight in gold. It really is. Just to have them to where we can talk to them again. Sometimes you’re not that fortunate, but we were very fortunate this time,” said Boykins.

It’s a happy ending to a story Boykins said they don’t often see. It’s hard not to cry at the smiles of children with the rest of their lives ahead of them.

He said this one has changed them all.

“Everybody is save-able, but [with] children, everyone works a little harder, I believe,” he said.

Deputy Chief Boykins wants to remind everyone to make sure they have working smoke detectors; especially this time of year. You can often get them installed for free by your local fire department.

There are also a lot of needs for these 6 kids. Click HERE for their GoFundMe page.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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