Leave Feedback

no avatar

Kingsport father says his family was surrounded by angels during rescue from burning SUV

Staff Report • Jul 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM

The father of a 4-year-old boy saved from a burning SUV in Milwaukee says his son was surrounded by angels.

CLICK HERE to watch the AP video of the rescue.

James "Chris" Harper said Tuesday words can't express his gratitude to off-duty firefighters Joel and John Rechlitz and others.

Pediatric surgeon David Gourlay says 4-year-old D.J. Harper is in serious but stable condition with burns over 20 percent of his body. He says many of the burns are deep and are on the scalp, face and upper body.

Harper's mother, 32-year-old Angela Baldessari of Kingsport, was driving Sunday when her SUV hit a tree and burst into flames. She and her 2-year-old daughter were pulled out but rescue workers had to cut the boy's car-seat restraints to save him.

The Rechlitz brothers suffered burns on their hands and forearms

According to reports by WVLT in Milwaukee, Wisc, the Associated Press Joel and John Rechlitz were among the crowd who worked to rescue the family Sunday afternoon."Once you see a burning child, I mean, it doesn't matter who you are, firefighter or not," Joel Reichlitz told The Associated Press on Monday. "You are going to do whatever you can to save that child," Joel Rechlitz said.

Rescuers cut the boy out of his carseat as it and other interior parts of the SUV were beginning to melt.

Recommended for You