NEAR KERRVILLE, Texas - Just after midnight Tuesday, 10-year-old Madeline Munoz was awakened by smoke that had made her throat scratchy and dry.
Munoz said she yelled at the top of her voice, “Mom, wake up! There’s a fire!”
The Nimitz Elementary fourth-grader remembered to alert everyone to the danger, part of what she was taught during the Kerrville Fire Department’s visit to her school during Fire Prevention Week.
Unsure if her mother had heard her on the opposite side of the mobile home with the fire separating them, Madeline knew to drop to her hands and knees, then crawl beneath the smoke.
Tapping the door knob to make sure it wouldn’t burn her hand, Madeline said she opened the front door and ran to her grandparents' house next door to get help.
Shiree Reeder, Madeline’s mother, said she had heard her daughter.
“When I yanked open the bedroom door, the whole kitchen was on fire and full of smoke,” Reeder said.
Shane Dunn, Madeline’s father, said the smoke got so thick he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face.
Reeder said she breathed a huge sigh of relief when she looked across the yard and saw that Madeline had made it out safely.
She said later, “We hugged.”
The family said it was an emotional moment and a day they won’t forget.
“We’re breathing and alive thanks to Madeline,” her mother said. “She’s a hero and a life-saver.”
The Kerrville Fire Department now wants to honor Madeline for taking its life-saving lessons to heart. A spokesperson for Chief Donnie Smith said he plans to ask the Kerrville City Council to recognize her actions in the near future.
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