When flames engulfed a house in Illinois, there wasn't much time for new mom, Shelby Carter (21) to react. She knew she had to get her 12-day-old daughter to safety by any means necessary. So, in her final moments, Shelby smashed a nearby window and strapped the infant into her car seat. The brave, young mom tossed her baby out the window just before a wall of fire and smoke rolled through.
Shelby lives with her mom, but she wasn't home when the fire broke out. It was just Shelby and her 12-day-old baby girl, Keana.
It's still unclear what caused the house fire. But once the blaze started, it spread furiously. As the flames approached the second story where Shelby and Keana were trapped, Shelby had to act fast.
Shelby's number one priority was saving her baby. And as heavy smoke poured into the room, she knew she had to get Keana out. So, she strapped the tiny infant snugly into her car seat and mustered the strength she had left to break a nearby window. In her final moments, the young mom tossed her baby out the window.
The Ultimate Sacrifice
When the firefighters arrived and started setting up a ladder to the second story window, they found the car seat on the ground. Miraculously, outside of a minor burn, the precious baby was perfectly fine.
"The good news is, the baby got home and is doing great," Stark County Sheriff Steve Sloan said.
Tragically, however, her courageous mom was not. Firefighters found Carter's body in a room on the second floor, and an autopsy reported smoke inhalation as the cause of death.
Shelby's death is a heartbreaking blow to the close-knit community of roughly 1,500 people.
"Words can not express the way we truly feel," the fire department said in a Facebook post.
The young mom, described as "very upbeat, always smiling," celebrated her birthday just the day before the fire. And all agree Shelby's sacrifice makes her a hero.
"It's just incredible that she was able to pull her thoughts together to save her baby," said Ed Foglesonger, chief of the Wyoming-Speer Fire Protection District. "It's just too bad she couldn't save herself; but I'd say it's nothing short of a miracle the way it ended up."
The small community has rallied around Shelby's mom, raising more than $30,000 to help raise Keana. It's heartbreaking to know this little angel will not get to grow up with her mother. But one thing's for sure -- she'll always know her mother loved her more than anything!
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
A teen mom makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her unborn baby!