Iowa father dies trying to save son from fire


HUXLEY – An Iowa father makes a heroic choice to try and save his son in a fire. He passed away, but now the teenager is fighting for his life. 

The fire happened early Sunday morning in the 300 block of Sycamore Boulevard. The entire community, is reeling in pain and sending prayers to the family. 

“We are all tremendously sorry for their loss yesterday of their husband and father and and of their home,” neighbor, Mindy Ward said.

Huxley police say two teenage girls were able to escape the home without injuries. But the parents and another teen were trapped inside the front bedroom. Mindy watched from her window as crews tried to rescue them.

“I could see smoke billowing out of the house and I could see the rescue people running  back and forth.”

Police were able to get the woman out through a window. She was taken to the hospital, and is doing ok. But as the smoke grew heavier Mindy knew how dangerous things were getting for the two family members still inside.

“I cracked the window just to kind of get a sense of the tone of the situation ad knew that it was serious.”

Firefighters eventually got the dad and a 17-year-old boy out of the house. Police say they were unresponsive and rushed to a local hospital where the father, 47-year-old Brett Van Ersvelde later died. 

“It’s heartbreaking because everything in their life altered and it’s a lot to process for them.”

Brett’s brothers came by the house to look at things Monday afternoon. They are grappling with grief, and holding out hope the couple’s son pulls through. They tell Local 5 right now he is fighting for his life at a hospital in Iowa city. Mindy and the rest of the community left praying for the family.

“The Ballard community would like to love and support them anyway we can.”

The fire is now being investigated by the State Fire Marshall. Firefighters believe the fire started in the kitchen.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.