Man runs back in burning house to save 2-year-old; both die (Birmingham)


A fire in Birmingham on Sunday, Feb. 2, left two dead – an adult male and his 2-year-old daughter. (Photo by Greg Garrison/


A Birmingham house fire on Sunday morning left a 2-year-old child and one adult male dead, and one child critically injured, according to Birmingham Fire and Rescue.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue responded to a call at 4:27 a.m. Sunday to the 4200 block of 8th Ave. North, said Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo.

The 2-year-old and adult died as a result of the fire, and a 10-year-old child was transported in critical condition for medical care, Carrillo said.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries, including a cut to the hand, he said.

Abuwi Rahmaan, who said he lived in the house and survived the fire, said the man killed was his friend, Shaun Sanders, 38. He said Sanders ran back into the house to save his daughter, Shaundela, 2. “Shaun ran in there to get the baby and he didn’t come back,” Rahmaan said.

He said the 10-year-old who was injured was Sanders’ nephew.

There were several children sleeping in the house, Sander’s children and children of his sister, Rahmaan said.

“All the children were sleeping in one bed,” he said. “We were trying to grab everybody.”

Rahmann said he believed the fire started from an electric space heater in the middle of the house. There was a smoke detector, but it did not go off, he said.

“The fire spread so quick it was everywhere,” Rahmann said. “It happened fast. It was so hot and the smoke was so thick.”

He and Sanders were outside the burning house with several of the children when they realized one was left behind, he said. “I heard the baby gave a little shout,” he said. That’s when Sanders ran back in and didn’t make it out, he said.

Sanders worked across the street from the rented house where he lived, at a metal fabrication shop called CFAST, that makes bolts and screws, Rahmaan said.

Rahmaan said he’s now homeless. “I’m starting over,” he said. “Everything I owned was in that house.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Carrillo said.

Four people have died in house fires in Jefferson County in the past three days.

Lauren Christine Youngman, 63, died Thursday at 1:42 p.m. during a fire at a home in the 2500 block of Carmel Road in the Grayson Valley community, according to Center Point firefighters.

Another person died Thursday night after a house fire in the 800 block of Hampton Road in southwest Birmingham, according to the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service. The victim of that fire has not been publicly identified.