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Mother shatters her back while catching 11-year-old stepdaughter who jumped off roof to escape house fire

The Dawson family’s lives drastically changed in an instant, but mom Crystal Dawson says she has no regrets about how she handled the day her house went up in flames, even though it left her temporarily paralyzed.

“I wouldn’t change a thing. My daughter is safe and that’s all that I was worried about.”



Early Friday morning Crystal went to prepare a bottle for her 6-month-old daughter. That’s when she realized something was seriously wrong.

“I couldn’t even make it not even three steps into my living room before I was hit in the face with flames,” the 30-year-old mother of three said.

Crystal, her husband BJ, and their infant were able to escape their Lynchburg, Virginia home, but BJ’s older son, 9, and daughter, 11, were trapped in their rooms upstairs.

The siblings were able to access a window at the front of the house and escape through it onto a small roof. Crystal’s stepson jumped from the roof, and she was able to catch him.

Her stepdaughter, Brianna, was hesitant even though the roof was seconds from collapsing. Finally, she jumped, and Crystal caught her too.

“I caught her with everything I had in my chest.”

They both fell backwards and Crystal heard a pop. BJ was able to move his family across the street to safety. But when paramedics arrived, Crystal couldn’t lift herself up on the stretcher.

It wasn’t until she was at the hospital that she learned she had broken her T5 vertebrae. She’s temporarily paralyzed, but doctors believe she’ll be able to walk again.

According to a recent update, she’s currently waiting for surgery.

However, despite the life-altering injury she sustained and feeling “completely crushed,” Crystal said she wouldn’t change a thing about how she reacted that morning.

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