Teen Who Died Saving His Family from Fire Saves More Lives as Organ Donor: 'He's a Hero' Says Dad
GoFundMe Xaven Garcia
A teenager from New Mexico, who died making sure his family survived a house fire, will continue to save lives thanks to his status as an organ donor.
Xaven Garcia, a 17-year-old high school senior from Albuquerque, died last week, days after a fire broke out at his family home on Nov. 14, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
His father, Phil Garcia, told the outlet that he and his son fell asleep on the couch that night while watching football. Although Phil later woke up and decided to go to his own bed, he left Xaven on the couch — and was later awoken by the teen, who told him the house was on fire, and they needed to get out.
"I was kind of in a daze, I couldn't really wake up. So, he literally grabbed me and started pulling me out the house," he recalled to the outlet.
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After making it safely outside, Phil said he began to worry that Xaven's sister was still inside — forgetting she was still at work — and ran back into the home, telling the teenager not to follow him, according to The Albuquerque Journal.
However, shortly after running back into the home, Phil said he collapsed. "He probably ran in to go grab me again. And the smoke overtook him," Phil told the outlet.
"They think that he died pretty much instantly because the black soot filled his lungs and killed him instantly," Phil said of his son. "There were no signs of him struggling or suffering in any way, shape or form."
Albuquerque Fire Rescue spokesman Tom Ruiz told the outlet that authorities are "looking into the matter," but that the blaze was accidental in nature.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
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After the accident, Xaven was kept alive on life support, and while he ultimately did not survive, he was able to continue to help others through organ donation — something his family found out was important to him days before his death.
"We were watching something on TV and I was pulling something out of my wallet, and I've got nimble fingers, dropped it, and my license popped out," Phil told NBC affiliate KOB, noting that his son asked about the heart symbol on his ID.
"I told him it was for, to be an organ donor if something tragic happened. And he just looked at me and goes, 'I'm gonna get that done,' " Phil recalled.
According to The Albuquerque Journal, Xaven had signed up to be a donor after getting his learner's permit.
"He's a hero to all of us," his father told CBS and Fox affiliate KRQE.
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Xaven's family said knowing he was able to save more lives has helped make this difficult time easier for them. "It makes your family feel at peace knowing you're saving another life," his stepmom Stacey told KRQE.
Although his family does not know who will be receiving Xaven's organs, it is likely his spleen, kidneys and other tissues will save up to eight lives, according to the outlet.
"I believe his heart went to Colorado, his liver went to another 17-year-old boy in New York state," his father told KOB.
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A special honor walk was also held for Xaven by UNM Hospital before his donation.
"We've never even heard of anything like this, but to see all the doctors, the administration, the nurses, the whole entire wing of the ICU department, it seemed like the whole entire hospital was there," his father Phil told KOB. "It's an amazing, amazing thing."
"I just hope that whoever the participants are that get my son's organs, that they really cherish every moment of life," he added during an interview with KRQE. "They are so blessed to have what they're getting."
Those interested in donating to Xaven's GoFundMe can do so here.