11-year-old saves family from house fire

We are blessed to be alive to share our story. We, Precious McNeil and Marco Allen, are the parents of five young, spirited children: Kaliyah (11), Chloe (7), Grace (5), Demarco (2) and Demar (8 months). Precious works as a 911 dispatch operator and Marco is employed at the local Lowe's store. Together, we have coached soccer, T-ball and other youth sports teams with Parks and Recreation for more than five years. We are a close-knit family that enjoys being part of and contributing to our small, rural community.

This time last week, our thoughts centered on determining the best neighborhood trick-or-treat routes for our children and their cousins. Two days ago, that all changed. Around 2:30 in the morning, our home was consumed by a house fire. Thankfully, our oldest daughter, Kaliyah, awakened in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. When she opened her eyes, she realized something was very wrong: our home was engulfed in thick smoke. Fortunately, a recent fire drill at her school prepared our daughter to act quickly and wisely.

Kaliyah covered her nose and mouth with a bandana, crawled to her mother's bed, screamed her name and shook her to wake her up. Together, they made their way into the living room to locate the other sleeping children amidst the smoke. Remembering where they were earlier in the evening, Kaliyah felt around for Demarco and Grace and carried them out of the house to safety. Precious, Marco and their youngest child followed. Shortly after, when Precious asked about Chloe, without hesitation, Kaliyah ran back into the house to save her sister.

We're stunned and emotional. No words can fully express how thankful we are for Kaliyah's bravery. Her courage and selflessness saved not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, but 7 lives. She is our forever hero. The fire destroyed most of our material possessions, and now our young family is forced to start over, from identifying a new home to ensuring our children have their daily needs met. We welcome any level of support as we work to get back on our feet. From the bottom of our grateful hearts, we thank you for reading our story and helping us to celebrate Kaliyah.

  • Gisela Woitas 
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  • Ravonda John 
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  • Anonymous 
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    • $100 
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Precious McNeil 
Laurinburg, NC

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