Stranger saves 4-year-old boy’s life after SUV catches fire

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BROOKLYN, Ind. – A little boy was burned after his home and an SUV caught on fire, but the 4-year-old is resting at home thanks to a caring stranger.

Brittani Valch says she was outside playing with her kids when her 4-year-old son Zach went inside the family SUV to grab some of his toys.

“It was within seconds, it went up in flames,” said Valch.

“The thought of the fact that I could’ve lost him forever was something I couldn’t deal with,” she said.

Valch says when she pulled Zach out of the vehicle, he already had some burns. She set her son away from the fiery vehicle so she could go inside to get some water. Valch says she was trying to keep the fire from spreading to their home.

“I ran back inside, so of course his instinct (was), ‘I’m scared, I’m going to follow mommy.’ My instinct was to try to put it out,” said Valch.

When Zach wandered closer to the fire, he was hurt even worse. Within moments, a stranger saw the smoke.

“(I) just ran. I didn’t even think twice. There was no hesitation, no nothing. It was just he needs help,” said Dottie Swails.

Swails tells FOX59 she grabbed the 4-year-old while he was standing in a narrow path between the burning SUV and home.

“He couldn’t move. Nothing. He was on fire,” said Swails.

Swails says she got a wet towel from a neighbor and waited for help to arrive. As she was trying to calm the little boy, this grandma found something the two had in common.

“My eldest grandson is 3 and the victim is 4 and they both love [the TV show] ‘Paw Patrol,’ so it clicked. We had something to talk about. I know all about ‘Paw Patrol,’” said Swails.

Zach has burns on his face, arm, feet and his ear, but he’s now resting at home. Zach’s mother wants this sweet stranger to know a simple “thank you” isn’t enough.

“I don’t know what to say. She saved something that I cannot replace. There’s no words for that,” said Valch.

If you’re interested in helping the family, clothing for their children is the biggest need. They have two girls, sizes 10/12 and 6. They have two boys, sizes 8 and 5T. You can drop off clothing at New Life Baptist Church located at 8020 N. Old State Rd 67 in Mooresville.

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