Cincinnati Chiefs football player Dei Roseman spent three years living with his mother in the same College Hill rental home. When it caught fire Nov. 9, he lost everything inside — and nearly lost her — in the span of minutes.
The Roseman family will spend Thanksgiving at a cousin’s home, grateful for both their health and the team’s support as they attempt to figure out what comes next.
“I have to keep telling myself it’s an unfortunate situation, it’s out of my control, and the most important thing is that I have my life,” Dei Roseman said Wednesday night. “That’s what I repeat to myself to keep me positive.”
He was playing Call of Duty in the living room when his mother shouted that a plant in her bedroom was on fire. Roseman launched into what he called Superhero Mode, shepherding her out and then grabbing the plant with his bare hands.
“My mother’s life, knowing that’s the only parent I have living, that was the most important thing to me at that time,” he said.
He wrapped the plant in a comforter and threw it outside in an attempt to smother the fire.
“When I came back in, it was already too late,” he said. “It looked like a movie.”
The flames reached the rafters and streamed out the windows. His pictures of himself with his late father, his professional sports portraits and his championship rings were all gone.
He knew he didn’t have renter’s insurance. There was nothing left for him to do, he said, except sit on the curb across the street and watch it happen as he waited for firefighters to arrive.
In the aftermath, Cincinnati Chiefs co-owner Rico Pritchett set up a GoFundMe account meant to help Roseman and his mother as they look for a new place to live.
“That’s my brother, man,” Pritchett said. “I’ve known (him) for a long time. It’s automatic to try to make something happen for him.”
He described Roseman as a kind-hearted man who goes out of his way to help others. It was natural others would want to support him, Pritchett said.
“He’s a good dude,” he said. “Real good guy. Real good guy. I wasn’t surprised at all.”