A Boston man who was rescued from a house fire 45 years ago got to thank the firefighter who saved his life in a sweet reunion that was decades overdue.
Umar Fox was just three years old when the fire erupted at the family’s Dorchester, Boston home on December 26, 1978.
Gilmore Rescued The Siblings From A Boston House Fire
Joseph Gilmore, who had just completed another house rescue mission, rushed to the scene and helped Fox and his nine-year-old sister, Lisa, out of the property.
Boston Globe photographer George Ritzer captured a photo that showed the incredible moment when Gilmore carried the petrified siblings out of the home with both arms.
Boston firefighter reunites with the children he saved from a fire 45 years later 🔥
In 1978, Umar, then three years old, and Lisa, his nine-year-old sister, were miraculously saved from a blazing building by Joe Gilmore, a Boston firefighter.
At the touching reunion, which… pic.twitter.com/k1DHIRYrFM
— Salt (@SaltFlash) December 31, 2023
The family had been attempting to track Gilmore down for years, hoping to express their gratitude for saving the siblings. Fox, now a school bus driver, shared with the aforementioned publication that he never forgot the 1978 incident. He vividly remembered how Gilmore had rushed inside without hesitation to find them. Even though decades would pass, Fox remained determined to find him one day.
Thanks to the power of social media, they were able to track him down and set up a reunion, which took place on Wednesday (December 27), nearly 45 years to the day after the rescue.
“Oh my god, I wouldn’t want to pick you up now, buddy,” Gilmore jokingly said as he embraced Fox with a big hug. “How’re you doing? It’s great to finally meet you!”
“This guy saved our lives. We wouldn’t be here. I have wonderful children,” Fox said.
The Family Remains Beyond Grateful For Gilmore’s Actions
The 48-year-old, who is now a father of five, two of whom are his stepchildren from a new relationship, acknowledges that his kids wouldn’t have seen the light of day had it not been for Gilmore’s rescue.
While Fox’s sister was unable to attend the reunion due to illness, their mother, Silvia, was also present for the occasion as she shared some words of gratitude while tears filled her eyes.
“Those are my kids you saved. You carried them down the stairs,” she said.
Gilmore recalled finishing work at another blaze in Chinatown that morning when he received a call about trapped children in a nearby home.
He commonly encountered cases of people trapped in homes, but the moment he heard that kids were involved, it choked him up.
“You don’t want to hear that, but if you get there, you want to [see] them, God willing, be rescued like this. . . . We go to bad stuff looking for happy endings, hopefully.”
While the reunion may have taken over four decades to take place, the Fox family says they plan on staying in contact with Gilmore in hopes of setting up another get-together somewhere soon.