A hot water heater fire in Ninnekah, Okla. on Wednesday reduced a family's home to ashes, but the youngest member of the family is being celebrated as a hero for waking up her family in time to safely escape.
Ronnie Burns says both of his girls four days before the fire went through fire safety training at school, not knowing that information and a sore throat would have saved their lives.
Charred memories are all that's left of the Burns' home. Smoke alarms didn't wake up this family of three. It was 6-year-old Braylee's sore throat.
“He tried to turn a light on and it wouldn't turn on and he opened the door and a lot of smoke came in the house,” said Braylee Burns.
“I told the girls, ‘Hit the floor!' And I grabbed Braylee. We went out the door and Caycee come following behind us,” said father, Ronnie Burns.
A shy little girl on Thursday, spending most of our interview in dad's arms or behind his legs, she bravely followed her dad's orders Wednesday morning, taking her older sister to a neighbor's house around 1 a.m. to get help.
On Tuesday night, the three of them fell asleep in the living room. It is a decision Ronnie believes is another reason they survived.
“The fire started in the hot water heater right where their bedrooms was (sic) at. Where they normally would sleep,” he said.
Braylee still doesn't quite grasp how her scratchy throat became the lifesaving alert for her family, but she's not shy about admitting her new heroine status.
“If she didn't wake up, I don't think we would have got out because once we got out and tried to go back in there was no way I could go back in. I mean it was that quick,” says Ronnie.
Family and the community have come together to help the Burns rebuild their lives supplying them with new clothes, toys, and furniture.
Holding the hands of his two girls, Ronnie says the two most important things survived the fire, his girls.