Twelve-year-old saves family from fire


by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 22 at 12:01 AM

ROUND ROCK, Texas -- To see it is tough enough, the charred shell of what a family once called home. To live through it something no one should ever have to face.

"It was just glowing and through the window you could just see the fire rolling," said Courtney Smith.

That was from the inside. When Smith got out and watched his home burn, he realized a scary truth.

"Without him we wouldn't be here," he said.

The credit doesn't go to a firefighter, or even a brave neighbor, but Smith's 12-year-old cousin Austin Cowling, who just couldn't fall asleep early Tuesday morning.

"I noticed that room was getting brighter," said Smith. "So I looked out the window closest to the door and I saw this ball of fire."

"When he saw the fire, he bellowed out," said Austin's elder cousin. "It sounded like he was standing in my ear."

"We couldn't go out the front door because there was a fire in front of it, so we had to rush to the back door and go out the back," said the 12-year-old hero.

By the time Austin led his five relatives outside, flames took over trapping the family's pet Yorkie Berkeley inside.

"God forbid if they hadn't of woken up and hadn't of gotten out," said Austin's mother Amanda. "None of us would be having a holiday tomorrow."

She's just glad Austin was there Monday night, which happens to be the one a night a week he spends with relatives while Amanda works a graveyard shift.

"We got family," said Amanda Smith. "That's what counts everything else is just material it can all be replaced."

The Smith's home was insured, but they say the batteries in their smoke detector were dead.

Meanwhile, the family told KVUE their Thanksgiving meal is happening right on schedule at the home of a nearby relative.

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