Galesburg firefighter rescues three-year-old boy

A Galesburg firefighter is a real life-saver.

That’s after Captain Derek Perry rescued a child from a dangerous house fire early Tuesday.

Moments that matter as flames and smoke engulf the house at 801 Oak Street at 12:25 a.m.

“You get tunnel vision,” Perry said. “Everything slowed down.”

A three-year-old boy named Austin is trapped inside.

“I couldn’t get my gear on quickly enough,” Perry continued.

A scene that sparks emotions for firefighter Perry, a father of four.

“I have young children myself,” he said. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to have a child in conditions like that.”

Perry puts his life on the line with partner Matt Lewis.

“I wasn’t sure where he was,” he recalled. “He wasn’t sure where I was.”

Calling on military and fire training to respond instinctively. But dismal conditions making a tough situation even worse.

“We just go straight in,” he said. “We’ve got to get the person. Get him out. That’s all we’re thinking about.”

With just moments to spare, he finds the youngster, passing him out a window before escaping himself.

“Basically they pulled me out of the window,” he said. “And it was pretty emotional.”

Without a doubt, Perry’s quick response saved a young life. With time, smoke and fire working against him, he made the right decision.

Firefighters suspect that a partially unplugged night light may have started the fire in another bedroom. While working smoke detectors alerted other family members, Perry’s persistence saved the young boy.

“So many things can go wrong,” he continued. “It’s a blessing when it does go right.”

Fleeting moments that matter so much as the youngster recovers in a Chicago-area hospital.

“I pray the little guy has a full recovery,” he concluded.

Healing wishes from a firefighter and  father in Galesburg.

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