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'You're indeed a hero!': 6-year-old New Jersey girl saves family from house fire, officials say

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/20/2020 Suzanne Russell, Bridgewater Courier News
a person standing in front of a house: Donations of clothing, toys and toiletries are being accepted at the Avenel Fire Company, 346 Avenel St., for a Hyatt Street family whose home was damaged by an early Sunday morning fire. © ~Courtesy of Fire Official Cory Spillar Donations of clothing, toys and toiletries are being accepted at the Avenel Fire Company, 346 Avenel St., for a Hyatt Street family whose home was damaged by an early Sunday morning fire.

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. – A 6-year-old girl is being credited with saving the lives of her parents and younger brother after she awoke early Sunday and alerted her father to a fire in their New Jersey home.

As a result, the girl, Madalyn Karlbon, her 2-year-old brother and their parents were all able to safely evacuate the home, according to Fire Official Cory S. Spillar.

Their home in Avenel, New Jersey, however, has been deemed uninhabitable due to fire, smoke and water damage on the first floor and smoke damage on the second floor. The family is temporarily staying at a hotel, Spillar said.

According to Spillar, the father and two children had gone to bed Saturday night. The mother came in later and fell asleep downstairs.

Fire-damaged interior of the New Jersey home. © ~Courtesy of Fire Official Cory S. Spillar Fire-damaged interior of the New Jersey home.

About 2:17 a.m., Madalyn, who goes by Madi, woke up to a burning sensation in her eyes and throat. She also heard the smoke detector alarm sounding in the home, Spillar said.

She went downstairs where she saw fire. Unable to wake her mother who was asleep downstairs, she ran upstairs to wake her father who got her and her brother out of the house. The father then went back into the home to get the mother out, Spillar said.

"To say all of us here at the Avenel Fire Department are so proud of you is an understatement," the department said in a Facebook post. "Way to go Madalyn. You're indeed a hero!!!"

a cluttered kitchen: Fire-damaged interior of the New Jersey home. © ~Courtesy of Fire Official Cory S. Spillar Fire-damaged interior of the New Jersey home.

The fire remains under investigation.

Spillar said the fire, which is considered accidental, appears to have started at the kitchen stove during a cooking process before everyone in the home fell asleep. He said the bulk of the fire damage was confined to the kitchen.

The Avenel Fire Company is accepting donations of clothing, toys and toiletries for the family at the firehouse, 346 Avenel St. Cash contributions also can be made out the Avenel Fire Company Community Fund, 346 Avenel St., Avenel, NJ 07001.

Contact reporter Suzanne Russell: srussell@gannettnj.com

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This article originally appeared on Bridgewater Courier News: 'You're indeed a hero!': 6-year-old New Jersey girl saves family from house fire, officials say

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