January 2017 was a life-changing month for 21-year-old Shelby Ann Carter. She gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl and was forever changed by the birth. Shelby and her boyfriend, who are both from the small community of Wyoming, Illinois, were delighted to become parents and took to the task with gusto as though they’d been born to raise a little girl all their lives. Shelby was determined to do everything in her power to take care of her little daughter and raise her to be a wonderful woman, just as her mother had done for her.

However, tragedy followed on the coattails of all of the family’s good fortune. Only a few weeks after Shelby’s daughter was born, a fire broke out in the baby’s grandmother’s house, where the entire family had been living after her birth. The fire started on January 30, 2017, and Shelby had to act quickly if she was going to save her newborn baby from the all-consuming flames of the inferno.

The fire was spreading fast, and Shelby did not have a safe way to escape the house. She found herself stuck on the second floor with no way out. She was desperate to save her newborn baby girl, so she did the only thing she could think of doing. She strapped the infant into her car seat and carefully dropped her from the second-story window.

After dropping the baby to safety, Shelby was consumed by smoke and fire. Firefighters arrived at the scene and battled the inferno back. But they could not fight the fire fast enough to save Shelby from the flames. It was a tragedy for the family because they had been so optimistic in the wake of the baby’s birth. Nevertheless, it was extremely tragic to lose such a young woman to such a terrible accident like a house fire.

Despite all the pain and suffering Shelby’s family endured, there was a silver lining to all of the tragedy. At least Shelby had been quick enough to save her daughter from the fire while she still could.

“The good news is, the baby got home and is doing great,” Stark County Sheriff Steve Sloan said to the Peoria Journal Star one day after the fire took Shelby’s life from her family.

Wyoming residents were devastated that they’d lost Shelby. The close-knit community gathered in the wake of the devastation to mourn the loss of the young mother and come together to help support the baby and Shelby’s surviving family members in the wake of the horrible tragedy.

Then, someone from the community organized a fundraiser to help support the family. Within a matter of weeks, people from across the country raised more than $40,000 to help pay for funeral expenses and give the family new hope after losing such a bright young woman.

Shelby will be remembered as a hero for saving her daughter from the flames.

“It’s just incredible that she was able to pull her thoughts together to save her baby… I’d say it’s nothing short of a miracle the way it ended up”, Chief of the Wyoming-Speer Fire Protection District Ed Foglesonger told The Washington Post.

Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.