Girl warns family about fire

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An 8-year-old girl is being hailed as a hero after alerting her family to a fire Thursday night.

Kayleigh Broughton, a third grader at Rock Hill Elementary, discovered the small blaze at her family’s home at Storms Creek Apartments.

She had gone upstairs to change clothes when she noticed the fire around 8 p.m.

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“I smelled smoke and looked in the bathroom and I saw fire from the ceiling light,” Kayleigh said. “I heard my mom go inside and I said ‘Fire!’ and they heard me so my dad came up and he saw the fire.”

An exhaust fan in the family’s bathroom had malfunctioned and set fire to a towel on the floor below. Kayleigh’s quick thinking and cool head allowed her family — her mother, father, and younger sisters 3-year-old Scarlett and 3-month-old Harper- get out of the house safely.

Kayleigh’s mother Traci was downstairs making a bottle for Harper at the time of the incident.

“I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and she was calmer than the rest of us,” Broughton said.

The apartments have smoke detectors, but the alarms were not sounding because the fire was in the ceiling, Broughton said.

“The fire department said it was an electrical fire and it had been burning for a while,” she said. “We were very, very lucky that there wasn’t more damage.”

The fire caused damage to the apartment’s ceiling. The Broughton’s stayed with a family member after the fire but they were back home the following night.

“(The maintenance department) had it all cleaned up the next night,” Broughton said. “They worked on it all Friday to have it cleaned up.”

Kayleigh credits her heroic actions to fire safety training she learned at school.

“I guess I knew it because in preschool we practiced what to do if there’s ever a fire,”

Broughton said she and her family are proud of Kayleigh.

“I’m glad to know that she’s not going to freak out in an emergency,” Broughton said. “She was more worried to get her sisters out. We’re very proud. She is our hero.

“Had it gone another 15 or 20 minutes it could have been very bad.”