A group of Florida firefighters showed a different display of heroism when they threw a baby shower for a soon-to-be-mother who lost all her belongings in a blaze the week before.
Nicola Taylor, 30, of Broward County, was moved to tears when the Lauderhill Fire Department gifted her baby items, clothes, and a lease on a new apartment when they surprised her with a baby shower on Wednesday.
“I didn’t expect it,” Taylor told InsideEdition.com. “It took me by surprise.”
The firefighters were inspired to raise money for a baby shower after they noticed baby items in what remained of the burned-out apartment after rescuing Taylor earlier this month, according to fire department spokesman Captain Jerry Gonzalez.
The soon-to-be-mom was just weeks from giving birth to a baby girl, Nickayleah, when she woke up from a nap to smoke filling her apartment. Also living in the apartment was her 50-year-old dad, her cousin, and her cousin’s baby.
“I was blindsided," she recalled. "Getting out was my main goal at the time. The smoke was heavy and black. I couldn't see what was going on."
Although she and her baby made it out safely, Taylor lost all of her belongings, including gifts from her birthday and a baby shower her coworkers threw for her just days before the fire.
“The apartment was completely gutted down to the concrete,” Gonzalez told InsideEdition.com. “They’re a low-income family. They had all these gifts in the apartment, and everything was lost.”
Firefighters on the scene then watched as Taylor was wheeled to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. They later learned that she had lost her previous baby.
“A lot of young guys we have in our department are new dads themselves, so it touched their hearts,” Gonzalez explained. “They wanted to do something.”
The firefighters started by collecting donations among themselves before reaching out to the community for help. Eventually, they started a GoFundMe campaign, and after a week, they had collected more than $5,000 in cash, and several thousand more in items like a crib, diapers, clothes and even beds for the family.
Using the money they raised, firefighters were able to find Taylor and her family a new apartment and put down a deposit as well as pay off the first three months of rent.
“We really appreciate it,” Taylor said, adding that their new home “is nicer than the last one we had.”