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Father "The Hero" in House Fire - KOAM TV 7

Father "The Hero" in House Fire

Updated:
PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

The family of KOAM Morning and Noon News anchor, Tawnya Bach, is still recovering at KU Medical Center after a fire left their home a total loss. 

22-month old Gehrett and his three-year old brother, Leif, are both being treated for smoke inhalation. Their father, James, is also recovering from smoke inhalation as well as internal burns to his lungs. 

None of the family members received any external burns. 

Boarding up windows and securing the home of Tawnya and James Collins, Friday, family members are actually thankful.

"The good news is that we're not having funerals," said James' uncle Ben Heckart, who Traveled from Iowa after hearing about Thursday morning's fire. 

"It was kind of panicked because I couldn't do anything," Heckart said. "My sister calls me telling me that James in on the roof of the house and the house is on fire. And I'm like seven hours away. It was pretty scary."

Pittsburg Middle School is just across the street. School resource officer, AJ Terry, was on his way to work when he became the first responder. 

"I heard somebody, I'm not sure who it was, yell 'AJ they're on the roof'," Terry said. 

Waiting on a ladder, the deputy sees James continuing to climb back into the burning house, multiple times. When Terry made it to the roof, he found James with his son, Gehrett. Both in bad shape.

"I asked the dad if there was anybody else in the house and he said, yes, there's one more," Terry said. 

James told Terry his son, Leif, was somewhere near the window. With the amount of smoke and lack of visibility, that information may have been the difference between saving the boy's life; when Terry found Leif laying unconscious. 

"That dad is, in my opinion, the hero. To go into the house two of three times to pull them out, tells me he's probably the best father on the face of the earth," Terry said. "Everybody who has kids would do what he did, but you never know until you're in that situation. And I commend him for everything he did."

Investigators are still determining the cause of the fire. They're giving the family time to recover before reaching out. 

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