Community rallies to support dad badly burned saving 3-year-old

Posted at 7:50 PM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 13:17:11-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Heroes don't only exist in comic books or movies. They don't always wear a cape or soar through sky. Sometimes they're everyday people who act on will and gusto at the right place and the right time. That's what Kerwin Barnum did when he saved his 3-year-old son from a raging house fire on Christmas, which was also his 45th birthday.

"What I’ve learned over the past three days is that Kerwin knows a lot of people," said Kennon Barnum, Kerwin's younger brother. "He’s reached out to a lot of people."

According to Kennon, Kerwin first saved his son that morning and then went back into the burning house to get him. His son is now fine and staying with the grandparents. But Kerwin's sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his back and head. He's being treated at Bronson hospital where his condition was upgraded from critical to serious.

"My mother went into to see him yesterday," Kennon said. "He was able to speak and express some feelings and thoughts."

Ryan Owens, a close family friend whom the Barnum brothers grew up with, created a GoFundMe page to help the family out.

"He figured his way of giving back was to start a little GoFundMe   page to kind of help give him some support and make life a little bit somewhat normal when he gets out of the hospital," said Kennon.

Owens created the page three days ago and since then around $4,000 has been raised. Kennon said he's grateful for everyone's kindness.

"I want to personally just thank all his friends, the fire department, organizations, volunteers, everybody that’s pretty much stepped forward," Kennon said. "We’ve been getting loads of support and our family’s very fond of that."

A second woman, Clarice Aikman, lived in another part of the house and is also now homeless. Friends have set up a YouCaring page for her at this link.