“If I birthed 6 kids, I’m gonna get 6 kids out” — says Swedish SuperMom, named Lifeguard of the Year 2020.
Emma Schols walked through the fire for her children: “Now they recognise me”
In only panties, mother of six Emma Schols walked back into the fire to save her children from the burning house. With severe burns to 93% of her body, she survived against all odds. At the Swedish Heroes Gala last month, she was named Lifeguard of the Year 2020.
“I threw the boys out the front door and locked them so they wouldn’t come in again.”
It was in September 2019 that the worst possible thing happened. Mother of six Emma Schols, 31, slept alone at home with the children. Suddenly she heard a fire in the downstairs of the villa, where two of her younger sons were.
“They had just woken up and gone down, so I rushed after them. Then I would not have understood how bad it would be. My only thought was that I had to get the boys who had taken shelter in the playroom out,” Schols told Angelica Öhagen in an interview for Aftonbladet
Just as she began to open the front door, the fire got oxygen… there was an explosion!
“I threw myself like a shield over the boys so that they would not be injured. When the flames hit me, it was as if my whole back was on fire. But I kept going. I threw the boys out the front door and locked them so they wouldn’t come in again. They were terrified.”
Emma shouted at the children upstairs to get out on the balcony.
“Then there was fire in the whole staircase. For each step I thought that ‘this is not possible’ but then I thought that it must go for four of my children are still up there. It was so hot that the soles of the feet start to drop from the feet. They just hang like threads.”
As Emma walked up the stairs, every step burned.
Daughter Nellie, 9, had jumped from upstairs to run to a neighbor and get help. The eldest son William, 11, tried to lower a ladder so that those who remained could climb out.
“The boys got a shock when I came out on the balcony. I was bleeding and had open burns all over my body. The skin on my chest had begun to peel away and my hair was just like a piece of charcoal on my head.”
Here, Dad Anders Anens takes the children to visit Emma at the University Hospital in Uppsala. “When I was moved from the burn unit in Uppsala to the hospital in Hudiksvall, the staff wanted to take a picture of me to remember how good it can be. If anyone comes in again with such extensive burns. No one thought my rehabilitation would go this fast.” Source: Family/Aftonbladet
I thought, “I might die now.”
Emma realised that her youngest daughter Mollie, 1 year old, was not out on the balcony.
“I thought that if she’s still in there then she’s probably not alive anymore but I have to try to get her out.”
The sons on the balcony tried to stop Emma from entering the fire inferno again. But she had made up her mind and managed to pull herself along the floor into the bedroom.
“It was such thick smoke and so hard to breathe. I was so terribly tired but could see through the smoke how Mollie stood there in her crib and cried and was terrified. Then I suddenly got such an enormous force and managed to get to my feet and lift her up.”
“I only had my own body, no blanket, no protection, only myself and my mother’s heart,” says Emma.
On the balcony, her son William had the steps in place.
“When I went down the steps with Mollie, it was as if my feet stuck to each step. I was just bleeding.”
At the last step, Emma collapsed.
“Then it was as if all the pain came at once. It hurt so terribly. I had taken all the children out and thought that now I could die.”
Emma’s rehabilitation has gone faster than any doctor could have imagined. Today, she can do many things she previously only dreamed of doing again. “I feel an enormous gratitude for every day we get to be together the whole family,” she says. Source: BNC/Aftonbladet
“Are the children alive?”
But before the ambulance arrived and Emma was put to sleep, she promised her eldest son William, who was the last child to leave her side, to return home soon. A promise that became a mantra during the time in the hospital.
The six children survived without any injuries at all. Emma was on a respirator for three weeks, hovering between life and death. It is uncommon for people to survive even 90% of burns. Emma’s body was burnt to 93%.
“The first thing I thought when I woke up was: ‘Are the children alive?’”
Emma had a hard time believing in the staff at the hospital. The memory of Mollie in the crib and the children’s fear had etched themselves in the memory. Only after a month and a half could the children come to the hospital and visit.
“It was fantastic, but at the same time tough. Youngest Mollie did not recognise me. That was probably the hardest part. She did not want to come to me. Which I can understand with all appliances and hoses. Then I looked completely different.”
Emma is back home with the family again, in the apartment they live in while they wait for the house to be rebuilt. “Now they recognise me again. The fire and what we have been through has left traces all over my body, and has affected the whole family. But what we have been through has also brought us closer. Today I take nothing for granted and am grateful for every day we have together.” Source: Frida Funemyr/allas.se
“Today I take nothing for granted and am grateful for every day we have together.”
Emma, who has always been active and energetic, did not just aim to get home to the family again. She wanted to be involved in leaving and picking up the children in preschool and at school. She wanted to play with the children and invent adventures.
“When I was moved from the burn unit in Uppsala to the hospital in Hudiksvall, the staff wanted to take a picture of me to remember how good it can be. If anyone comes in again with such extensive burns. No one thought my rehabilitation would go this fast.”
Since last spring, Emma is back home with the family again, in the apartment they live in while they wait for the house to be rebuilt. In addition to the rehab training she needs to do every day, she is also back on horseback and finds fun excursions and mischief with the children.
“Now they recognise me again. The fire and what we have been through has left traces all over my body, and has affected the whole family. But what we have been through has also brought us closer. Today I take nothing for granted and am grateful for every day we have together.”
During the feature at the Swedish Heroes Gala, her son William spoke about the time after the fire.
“You sometimes thought that you might never see your mother again. But now we get to see her almost every day and then you will be happy.”
The Schols family has gone through hell – in Emma’s case almost literally – but recovered from it. From left mother Emma, Oliwer, 4, Mollie, 3, William, 12, Nellie, 10, Melwin, 8, father Anders and Albin, 5 years. Source: Maria G Nilsson/allas.se
Tips for helping a burn victim
When a person has endured a severe burn injury, having a support system can be crucial to their well-being. Friends, family, and even acquaintances can prove to be very helpful to patients in the aftermath of the burn. There are numerous ways to help burn survivors during their recovery process.