Eighteen year-old Erbin Donley Tibbetts is today being hailed as a hero after running into his family’s burning home, not once, but twice to pull his best friend, sister and niece out of the house.
It’s a story that could have ended in tragedy for two families on Cayman Brac Tuesday (November 15) but thanks the heroic actions of Mr Tibbetts things ended differently when fire broke out at his home shortly after three o’clock.
“I don’t know about anybody else, but I would do anything for family,” says Mr Tibbetts who rescued his friend Desean Johanis Dacres who collapsed in the house when they tried to escape the smoke that engulfed the concrete and wooden structure at 63 Erbin Lane, Watering Place.
“I turned around and I called to my friend I called his name about three, four, five times and I heard him groan… ugghh… like that and I managed to feel my way through the house and I found him and I basically throw him out through the door,” Mr Tibbetts says.
But it did not end there for the teenager who remembered that his sister and niece were sleeping in-house.
“I end up having to run right back inside the house to get her out and my niece. The part of the house they were in wasn’t really on fire, but there was plenty of smoke in there,” he says.
His father Erbin, a DoE marine officer said he was proud of his son’s actions.
He was not at home at the time, but says fear struck him when he got the call.
“I wasn’t sure if the whole house was on fire because all I got was the house was on fire and I need to get there right away,” the elder Mr Tibbetts says.
As for the young Mr Tibbetts, he says he would not think twice about doing it again.
“I mean the house could be replaced no lives can,” he says.
Cayman Brac fire services says the blaze is still being investigated. The cause and the cost of the damage is yet to be determined. Both Mr Tibbetts and his friend were taken to hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and later released.
Mr Tibbetts also suffered an injury to his hand breaking the door to escape the fire.