Father died trying to save daughter in Fox Island house fire

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by Associated Press and KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 7:12 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 11:41 AM

FOX ISLAND, Wash. -- The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said Dr. Tom Babson and his 8-year-old daughter died in the fire that burned their waterfront home on 6th Avenue on Fox Island.

Firefighters believe Babson died while trying to save his eight-year-old daughter from their burning home.

Neither made it out alive late Wednesday night.

Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer says Babson was an emergency room doctor who was a commissioned reserve deputy. As a reserve deputy the doctor responded with SWAT teams to provide medical care in emergencies.

"He saved hundreds of people's lives," said Dr. Matt Rice who was not surprised at his friend's actions, "It's very much like Tom."

The fire was reported at 11:10 p.m. Wednesday. The man's wife and two other children made it out of the home with the help of a neighbor.

Late Thursday afternoon firefighters were able to recover the girl's remains from inside the Fox Island home.

Crews will return Friday to attempt to recover the father's body.

Firefighters said the building needs to be taken apart to reach Babson's remains.

Rice trained Babson as an emergency room doctor at Madigan Army Medical center in the 1980's when Babson was an officer in the Air Force.

"He was a patriot," said Rice, "He's a very dedicated physician... and he's a great father."

Volunteers are taking donations of clothing, toiletries and gift cards for the family, which can be sent to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Peninsula Detachment. The address is 6006 133rd Street, NW Gig Harbor, WA 98332.

MORE: Donate to family's memorial fund

Statement from Babson's employer: 

The Franciscan Health System mourns the loss of Dr. Thomas Babson and his child who perished in a tragic house fire this morning at their home on Fox Island.  Dr. Babson was employed by Team Health Northwest and worked with Franciscan since January, 1997 as an emergency department physician in several of our hospitals including St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor since 2009.
 
He was known as a very caring and compassionate doctor, always gregarious, a leader in his community, and an extremely proud father.   The Franciscan family is saddened by this sudden loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife June and his children.

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