Gulfport fireman Matt Nault has a drawer filled with get well cards from Anniston Elementary School. He read one of the cards to us. It said, "I thought you were brave saving people from fire. P.S. get well."
Nault and Lieutenant Tot Burkhalter both suffered severe burns on November 15th, when they battled this Highway 49 fire. According to Nault, "The reason I'm here today is because God helped me get out of that building. There's no doubt in my mind. And me and Tot have both discussed that. That's how we got out when we did."
Peeling skin on Nault's hands, and bandages on his arms give you an idea of what Nault went through. What you can't see is the pain this third generation fireman is suffering. "It's going to take some time," he said. "I'm burnt pretty bad on my arms and my side. But just glad to be alive."
Stacey Nault is Matt's wife. She said, "We've made it through because I know there are a lot of people praying for us. And like Matt has said, we thank God everyday for getting him out of that building alive."
Matt Nault: isn't sure he'll ever overcome what happened inside the burning boot store. "It's always going to be in the back of my head. And I'll always have a reminder when I look at myself."
After our interview, Matt finally had a chance to unpack the bag he packed three weeks ago, just before the November 15th fire. "I was on my way to vacation when all this happened," he said. "And I've always said Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. But this year we're going to make Christmas the best. Because like I said, I'm just glad to be here."
Because of the severity of his burns, Matt Nault says doctors aren't sure if he'll ever be able to fight fire again. Nault is a seven year veteran of the Gulfport fire department.