Fire kills beloved South Bend son who tried to save parents

NOW: Fire kills beloved South Bend son who tried to save parents

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A beloved son is dead after a fire ravaged his home.  His parents say 23-year-old Shawki Henderson died tried to save them.

"We tried to get back into the house to get my baby, but it was too late," says Barbie and Bryant Smith, Henderson's mother and stepfather. "The only thing that alerted us [to the fire] was our son."

The early morning flames shattered the silence in South Bend on July 10th.

The smoke was heavy in the air. 

"When I first smelled it, I thought it was a pot on the stove or something," says Bryant. "Then it got stronger and stronger and you knew it was wood burning."

"It was horrible. The most horrible smell ever," adds Barbie.

The stench lingers with the Smiths now eight days after the fire ripped apart their lives. 

It's something they will never forget.

The fire killed their son.

"He was trying to get us to make sure we would be okay," Barbie says.

"He could have saved himself, but he came back for us," explains Bryant.

Fire crews rushed into the heat, to try and save him from the burning home.

They did all they could, and even suffered injuries, to try and get Henderson out.

"They didn't think twice when they heard there was someone inside the house," says Bryant. "They ran in and it was hard because of the flames."

The fire destroyed their lives. Now, they're trying to pick up the pieces.

"We're just trying to deal with it everyday. It's hard," says Barbie through tears. "It's my baby and he was always there for me, no matter what happened."

With an unexpected funeral to plan, they're serving food out of a family home, to help raise the needed funds.

They say, the South Bend community has been nothing but supportive.

People they didn't even know, showed up for the first day of the fundraiser.

With the constant support, they say, they now can begin to grieve.

"Love your people while they're here," says Barbie. "Never in a million years I would have thought I'd wake up and my child was dead."

Another fundraiser to help the Smith family will be held on July 19. 

Food can be purchased by plate, for $7 at 2609 Frederickson Street in South Bend, at noon. 

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