Girl woken by flames helps family escape burning apartment

ByShelley Childers KTRK logo
Monday, February 26, 2018
Child helps her family escape burning apartment in NW Harris Co.
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Child helps her family escape burning apartment in NW Harris Co.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An 8-year-old northwest Harris County girl is being credited with saving her family's life.

She woke up to the sound of a smoke detector as flames already filled their living room. It happened at the North Bend Apartments in around 2 a.m. Monday.

Video of the family's rescue shows three children and their mother being carried down ladders from their second story balcony by firefighters with Champions Emergency Services Department.

Rachel Campbell says she's still processing what happened.

"Didn't know if I was going to make it, but I'm so thankful. I feel very blessed," Campbell told Eyewitness News.

The fire broke out in a 16-unit building in the middle of the night.

Campbell credits her 8-year-old daughter Gabby for saving the family when the little girl woke up to the sound of the smoke detector.

"There was a beeping sound and I can hear it better because I'm on top of my bed right beside the smoke alarm," Gabby recalled. "And then I heard it, and in my head, I was thinking 'is someone cooking at night?'"

Gabby went straight to her mother and woke her up.

"She said, 'Mommy, mommy, why are there flames coming out of my closet?'" said Rachel Campbell.

As flames filled their living room, Rachel led her three kids - ages 4, 6, and 8 years old - to the balcony for a dramatic second-story escape.

"They followed my every instruction," Rachel said proudly. "They were calm. No one was screaming. We just walked out, and I feel like talking to them prior helped them a lot."

She said it was just last month she talked the kids through a fire safety drill, teaching them an important lesson that was put to the test in the wee hours of the morning.

Rachel Campbell is urging parents to talk to their children about fire safety and practice what to do in case of a home fire.

No one was injured in the fire, but 15 families are now displaced.

Firefighters were also able to rescue a dog from one of the burning apartments. The dog was reunited with its owner and is doing okay.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is still investigating to determine where the fire started and what caused it.

Officials tell us there are no sprinklers in this building, which was built before the county required them in 2005.