17-year-old dies and rescues family from house fire caused by space heater

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A “hero.” This is how family and friends remember 17-year-old Xaven Garcia. The Albuquerque teenager died this week after running into his house, which was on fire, to make sure his family was safe.

Garcia rescued his father after he woke up to his house full of flames late Sunday night. Now he wants to save many other people with his last wish to donate his organs.

“He’s a hero to us all,” said Phil Garcia, Xaven’s father. “He saved me.”

Not many people would run back into a burning home, but 17-year-old Xaven did and saved his family. While he lost his life, his mission to save even more lives is not over.

“He got his license this week, actually Friday, and he wanted to be a donor,” Phil said. “He asked me about it. I said to him, ‘yes, that’s a great thing.'” But his father had never expected Xaven to donate his organs just days later when a space heater caught fire in the family home near Indian School and Rio Grande.

‘The only thing I was awakened to was that he shouted at me,‘ Dad, come out. The house is burning.’ He grabbed me, pulled me outside, and I was breathing because of the smoke inside the house, ”Phil said.

When Xaven realized that his sister might already be home from his late work, and not knowing what time it was, Xaven ran in again. However, he never came out.

“I asked him to stay out here. I ran in to check her room. It was a big no-no, I was almost stuck in there. I suppose he ran towards his back and the neighbor witnessed him go in, and he yelled at him not to go in, “Phil said.” The fire department probably found him 20 minutes … he was in the smoke 20-30 minutes. When they took him out, he was pretty much gone. “

In the days since, it has been a nightmare to wait for any sign of hope as he remained on life support. His stepmother, Stacey, was in Mountainair at the time and spoke to him just an hour before.

“The last words were, ‘I love you, Mom,'” Stacey recalled. “That was the last time I saw him.”

Doctors declared his death Tuesday afternoon. His parents are now watching his last heroic act of donating his organs. “To get another person to have a life, he does it for them,” Phil said. “I think it’s the ultimate way to go. It’s a true hero.”

Valley High School senior loved skateboarding, computers and family. Dear hope that his legacy of selflessness will be what people remember him for.

“Helping people still, you know, is just a blessing,” Stacey said. “Make us proud.”

In the coming days, UNM Hospital will hold an “honor walk” for Xaven with his family and hospital staff as he is escorted to the operating room for organ donation. Earlier Tuesday, Valley High School staff sent out a letter to parents to tell them about his death. They will have grief counselors at the school over the next few days.

Xaven’s grandmother has created one GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.

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