New Mom Dies Saving Infant Daughter From Fire at Their Illinois Home

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Less than two weeks after giving birth to her first child, a girl, a Wyoming, Illinois, mother is being mourned by family and friends after she sacrificed her life to save her infant, reports KTLA sister station KWQC in Davenport, Iowa.

Shelby Carter is shown in an undated family photo.

Shelby Carter is shown in an undated family photo taken from a KWQC video.

Shelby Carter, who had just turned 21 on Sunday, was alone with her baby Monday morning when their house went up in flames. The local fire chief says Carter strapped her daughter Keana into a car seat and dropped her from an upstairs window, saving her life.

“You put yourself in that situation and you know it wouldn’t be easy,” says Stacy Unhold, a family friend. Carter was found near an upstairs window, and an autopsy determined she died of smoke inhalation.

No cause has been determined for the fire, which destroyed the house where Carter lived with the child’s father and her own mother, Kathy Hardy. The family “lost everything,” says a Facebook post from the local Baptist church.

Carter strapped the child into a car seat before dropping her out the window to safety, according to authorities. (Credit: KWQC)

But they didn’t lose Keana, who was initially brought to the hospital. “The good news is, the baby got home and is doing great,” a sheriff’s official tells the Journal Star.

“Shelby made sure she was safe,” says Hardy. A GoFundMe page has been set up for grandmother and granddaughter.