Fire captain recalls finding missing boy in house blaze

Fort Worth Fire Department Capt. Bobby Washington Jr. and his crew were honored for rescuing 4-year-old Jullius from a bedroom of a burning home

By FireRescue1 Staff

FORT WORTH, Texas — A firefighter and his crew were recognized for rescuing a young boy from a burning home.

The Star-Telegram reported that when Fort Worth Fire Department Capt. Bobby Washington Jr. entered a burning home on Nov. 16, he assumed 4-year-old Jullius had been accounted for as several other firefighters had already scoured the rooms.

However, Washington said he heard a whimper in a far back bedroom.

“I could sort of see his silhouette standing there in the smoke as I came around the bunk bed,” he said. “I told him everything was OK, but he wouldn’t come to me, so finally I just had to grab him to get him out. I don’t know if he was scared of me, with the mask and everything, but he tried to fight me a bit.”

The nearly 30-year veteran of the department said it was the first time he had rescued a child from a fire, and said he was surprised to find him conscious and alert, because of rapidly-dropping oxygen levels in the room.

Washington and his crew were recognized for their bravery in the incident, and Chief Jim Davis said rescuing the child was a team effort.

“If you’re only concentrating on finding the child and not fighting the fire, things will only get worse,” he said. “Captain Washington is the kind of guy who when the bell rings is not only willing to put his life on the line but makes sure he’s successful.”

Jullius’ mother, Marian Abbs, recalled the incident and said she spent around 20 minutes searching for her son in the smoke-filled house.

“It was the longest time of my life. That smoke was so black and there was so much, I couldn’t see anything,” she said. “I wasn’t leaving without my baby.”

Abbs finally left the home and was met by Washington and a police officer as she exited, coughing and wheezing.

After being rescued, Jullian was transported to the hospital, and Abbs said he is doing well.

 “Bobby is my hero, my true hero,” Abbs said.

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