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​Hero Toddler Dies After Saving Mum And Sister In House Fire

​Hero Toddler Dies After Saving Mum And Sister In House Fire

They had fallen asleep on the sofa when a heater exploded, setting off an inferno

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman


A heroic toddler has tragically died after saving the lives of both his mum and his baby sister in a house fire.

DJ, two, sounded the alarm to the house fire, but then died after running back through the flames to hide in his bedroom.

Whitney Johnson, 26, explained that she had fallen asleep on the sofa with DJ and his five-week-old sister Nyla when a heater exploded, setting off an inferno.

Their smoke detector failed to pick up the fire, meaning it was only when DJ awoke and shouted his mum's name that Whitney stirred to find the room burning.


It was then that the HR worker picked Nyla up and grabbed DJ's hand, before running through the fire to the front door.

However, a frightened DJ broke free from his mum's grasp as she let go to turn the key in the lock - racing back through the flames to his bedroom, so that he could hide.

Whitney was unable to find her crying son amidst all of the smoke and fire, and was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to leave him behind and save Nyla, whose scalp was 'melting'.

DJ died from smoke inhalation after climbing into his bed.

Whitney, of Frankfort, Kentucky, USA, said: "DJ is my hero. If it wasn't for him yelling for me, we definitely would not be here.

"When I woke up, all I remember is flames everywhere and pitch black smoke. It was like something out of the movies.

"We all got up and headed towards the front door to get out.

"We ran through fire and I guess that scared DJ. I remember looking back and thinking, 'This is it, we are all going to die.'

"I had my newborn in one arm and I tried to open the front door and had to let go of my son's arm to do that.

"He ran directly to his room and shut his door. He was coughing and yelling for me and I was trying to look for him but couldn't see him through the black smoke and flames.

"I tried to get myself to him but I couldn't find him and I tried to open the door but at first I couldn't."

She added that she managed to sound the alarm in her apartment block, allowing around 30 other residents to evacuate.

Whitney was left with burns to 29 percent of her body, while Nyla - who is now aged two - had 19 percent burns.

After months in hospital, they still bear the scars.

Whitney was left with burns to 29 percent of her body and Nyla, now aged two, with 19 percent burns, and the pair both spent two months in hospital before being discharged.


Whitney continued: "People in public say things. Little kids will usually act scared of Nyla like she is a monster but adults are the worst.

"She has been called a baby Freddy Krueger and strangers online have told me I should have died in the fire and that it was my fault I didn't save my son.

"That really bothers me because I am angry at myself for not saving DJ. I'm supposed to be his protector and I wasn't able to be there.

"A lot of people thought I could just go around and smash through the window to get him, but the apartment was on the second floor.

"I cry when I read through those comments but those people have never been in my shoes. There was absolutely nothing I could have done.

"Now I try to raise awareness about fire safety through my social media, encouraging people to have a safety plan and to teach their kids not to run to their bedrooms."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: World News, News, Inspirational, US News