Quick-thinking: How my hero girl saved us

hero girl saved family

by take-a-break |
Updated on

My daughter was so excited about her birthday present but danger was lurking. By Louise Cromack, 33

Hero girl saved family from fire

The door opened and I heard the sound of feet before my daughter Amirah appeared.

‘Mum!’ she said. ‘I know what I want for my birthday.’

‘Oh?’ I said.

Her 10th birthday was approaching and she was so excited.

Now she said: ‘Yes. A hoverboard!’

‘Is that so?’ I replied with a chuckle, ruffling her hair.

‘Please, Mum,’ she went on. ‘All my friends have one.’

‘We’ll see,’ I told her.

I pretended that I was thinking about it but I ordered one online and kept it as a surprise.

When her birthday came around and she opened her gifts, Amirah was over the moon.

Hero girl saved family from fire

‘Thanks, Mum, you’re the best,’ she said.

But she deserved it. She and her brother Dan, 11, were good kids, and I was happy to treat them.

Amirah loved her hoverboard so much that after school she’d rush out the door with it to meet her friends.

Then one day, my sister Jessica rang me.

She’d given birth a few weeks earlier and she said: ‘We’re planning our first night out since the baby. Can you look after the kids?’

‘Of course,’ I replied, reckoning she and her fiancé Nathan deserved some time alone.

As well as baby Emily, they had a five-year-old daughter, Edie-May.

Jessica dropped them round at my home, in West Yorkshire, and said: ‘Thanks so much for this, you’re a godsend.’

‘No problem,’ I replied. ‘Have fun and I’ll see you tomorrow.’

I took the girls inside and had a think about where we’d all sleep.

'You're a brave girl'

The baby’s cot was heavy, so I decided to keep it in the living room.

I’ll sleep on one sofa and Edie-May can sleep on the other one, I decided.

She fell asleep while Amirah and Dan went up to bed. Then, after I’d given Emily a bottle and she’d drifted off, I dozed off too.

But next thing I knew, I was jolted from my sleep by a loud bang.

What the heck was that? I thought.

I was groggy from sleep but I could see it had gone midnight.

I assumed something had fallen off Amirah’s wardrobe and started to drift off again, but suddenly Amirah was shaking me awake and Dan was standing next to her looking panicked.

‘There’s a fire, Mum!’ Amirah shouted.

Just then, the smoke alarm went off and I jumped up.

‘We need to get out!’ I said.

Hero girl saves family from fire

I picked up the baby while Amirah woke up Edie-May and steered her towards the front door.

I got everyone outside and on to the street, then quickly dialled 999.

‘Please help, my house is on fire!’ I cried.

Despite the noise, Emily didn’t wake, and I called Jessica to explain what had happened.

‘Oh my God!’ she gasped. ‘Are you all safe?’

‘We’re fine,’ I replied.

The kids were understandably worried, so I did my best to keep them calm as firefighters arrived and tackled the blaze.

When it was under control, one of them gave me some news.

‘The fire was started by the hoverboard on charge in your daughter’s room,’ he said. ‘The battery must’ve exploded.’

He explained that because Amirah had taken the initiative to close her bedroom door, it had contained the fire.

If she hadn’t done that, it would have quickly spread to the rest of the house.

Hero girl saves family from fire

‘You’re a brave girl,’ he told her.

‘I’m so proud of you,’ I said, giving Amirah a hug.

She was lucky not to have been injured, and thankfully none of us showed signs of smoke inhalation. But we couldn’t return to our home.

Luckily, Jessica arrived and took us all back to hers.

I couldn’t wait to wash the smell of smoke off my clothes.

Amirah and I bunked with Edie-May in her double bed. But after they’d dozed off, I couldn’t sleep for worrying about all the what-ifs.

If Amirah hadn’t acted as quickly as she did, we might not have escaped.

Later, Amirah told me that Edie-May had wanted to use her hoverboard, so she’d put it on charge for her.

Amirah had only been alerted because she’d got up to get a drink then heard the bang as the hoverboard exploded.

I wasn’t sure if that meant the hoverboard was faulty but I was just so relieved no one got hurt.

Next day, the council installed new smoke alarms in our house, and we were allowed to move back in.

But seeing Amirah’s blackened room was gut-wrenching.

Every single one of her possessions was burnt to ash.

Our incredible neighbours rallied round to get her gift cards to buy new clothes, and even got her a new bed. And, as word got out, people in our community started calling Amirah a hero, and our local pizza place gave her a free meal.

‘I don’t feel like a hero, Mum,’ Amirah told me.

‘But you are,’ I replied. ‘You saved us all that night.’

A month on, the council replastered the walls in Amirah’s bedroom and after redecorating it, she finally felt at home again.

I was so proud of my girl that I treated her to a day out at a theme park.

She’s my little hero and she always will be.

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