Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Sarah Dallof reportingThe brother of Slade Easterbrook is calling him a hero for going back inside a burning house looking for their father.
"I want everyone to know he was a good guy and he cared about other people, and he died making sure his family was OK," John Easterbrook said.
He says the two men found each other. Slade's father climbed out a bathroom window, expecting Slade would be right behind. Firefighters believe Slade was overcome by smoke. The good news is his dad will be just fine.
The family spent Christmas together at the home in Taylorsville. Two days later, Slade was gone. Those who loved him say his smile was the 25-year-old man's trademark.
"He was a good kid. He always wanted people to be happy, always wanted to make other people happy," John said.
Those people included his nieces and newborn nephew. Slade would spoil them with gifts, dollar bills and take them to movies.
Slade died Thursday in a house fire. Investigators believe he was starting a fire in the fireplace when somehow it spread. Slade and his mom got out, but Slade went back in to find his dad. His body was later found upstairs.
John said, "I'm proud that he went back in and made sure my parents were out. I'm proud of him for that."
A former coworker, Troy Emery, said, "When he thought his father was inside the home, it doesn't surprise me he'd go in after him. That's the kind of person Slade was."
Emery worked with Slade at a call center before Slade moved on to new opportunities. He says out of 100 employees, Slade immediately stood out. "You could say Slade was everybody's friend, just really Slade never had a bad day, always had a smile on his face."
And it's that smile that will live on in photos and in the memories of friends and family.
Slade's brother spent the day digging through what's left of his parent's house. He didn't find much, but did recover several photo albums with pictures of Slade.
The family hasn't set a date for the funeral yet; they'll do that sometime this week.
Anyone who wants to help the family can donate to the "Easterbrook Memorial Fund" at America First Credit Union.