4-year-old girl saves family from fire

Family loses home in fire
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - An Osceola family is extremely thankful for a young family member who saved their lives.

Four-year-old Tanlee Starnes saved the lives of her mother and father when their home caught fire early Thursday.

"Honestly, if she wasn't there they might have slept through that and if they slept through that they wouldn't be here today," said Tanlee's grandmother Suzy Starnes.

According to Starnes, the fire started around 3:45 a.m. and Tanlee woke everyone in the home.

"She was screaming and crying and telling everybody to wake up," Starnes said.

When Tanlee's parents woke up, the entire front of the home was in flames.

"The house was over 100 degrees and it was flaming," Starnes said. "She was hollering "Fire! Fire! Everybody get up!'"

Tanlee's screams helped save everyone in the house.

"She did, she saved her momma and daddy's life last night," Starnes said.

Her father Chase Starnes knocked out the windows and got his family and two dogs out of the house.

"She saved their lives and she saved two of the dog's lives," Starnes said.

Chase gave one of the dogs mouth-to-mouth; however, a third dog passed away.

The family lost everything inside the home.

"Everything inside is burnt," Starnes said. "It is gone."

The family spent the day picking up anything that was left from the fire.

"We lost everything in the fire and we are now trying to salvage stuff to see what we can keep and what we have," Starnes said.

However, the family is also counting their blessings that everyone is safe.

"We can replace a picture, you can replace material things but you cannot replace a person no matter what," Starnes said.

The fire department said they do not know what caused the fire, but the family said it may be faulty wiring.

Starnes told Region 8 News the fire was one of the scariest incidents in her life.

"I was scared to death. I thought is everybody okay, is everybody okay who is gone and is anybody dead," Starnes said.

She said she cannot thank her granddaughter enough for being a hero.

"We owe our lives today to a four-year-old little girl who just saw fire and smoke and heat and was just hysterical," Starnes said. "She is just our world, she really is and she did the best thing she could do, she was really our hero last night."

Starnes said she will continue to remind her granddaughter about how brave she was for the family.

"If I could do anything to show how much she means to us and how much she did for us, I would do it in a heartbeat because she really saved our lives, she really did," Starnes said.

A member of the community offered a place for the family to stay until they can get back on their feet.

Red Cross is also helping with some financial aid for the family.

After this incident, Starnes said she has one message for other families.

"Everybody listen to your kids because they are smart too, give them credit for what they know too," Starnes said.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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