A 6-year-old New Jersey girl is being hailed as hero for waking her sleeping family to alert them of a fire in their home.
The incident took place just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 19, when Madalyn Karlbon awoke to the sound of a smoke detector in her family’s Avenel, New Jersey home. The noise had failed to rouse either of her parents, or her younger brother, so Karlbon ran to alert her father.
"I remember my daughter screaming, 'Daddy, the house is on fire, the house is on fire,'" volunteer firefighter and ex-Avenel fire Chief Jimmy Karlbon told ABC station WABC. "I didn't hear the smoke detectors. I didn't hear nothing. All I heard was, 'The house is on fire.'"
"When she was screaming, I remember waking up and upstairs was full of smoke already," he told WABC. "Couldn't even see where Madalyn even was. I grabbed Hunter. Madalyn was on the stairs. I grabbed Madalyn, put them on the front porch. I said, 'Stay here, where is mommy?' 'Mommy is on the couch.'"
"I tried to wake up mommy," the young girl said. "And then I called daddy's name, and daddy woke up Hunter and mommy."
Jimmy Karlbon, his wife, Madalyn and their 2-year-old son Hunter all made it safely out of the house, fire officials said, but they lost almost all of their belongings and the house has been deemed uninhabitable. Thanks to Madalyn’s quick reactions, however, the house is not a total loss.
Cory Spillar, a member of the local fire department said that Madalyn had recently been taught about fire safety in school. “I just had her three months ago, right down the road at School 23, teaching about fire safety ‘Get out, stay out’,” he told WABC.
In a Facebook post, the Avenel Fire Department congratulated Madalyn on taking quick action to save her family: “It goes without saying how bright and smart of a girl you are. This morning proved that!! You recognized danger immediately and were able to assist in getting everyone out of the house before the fire got worse.”