GOLDSBORO — A South Goldsboro family almost died because their smoke detector was not working, and they did not know it. Luckily, a child jumped through flames to save his family.
A charred piece of plastic is all that remains of Kristen Koger's hamster cage. The hamsters died when a fire started in her bedroom while she slept Tuesday morning.
"I looked at the hamster cage, because every morning I look at them to see if they are OK," Kristen said. "I looked at them, and I was like, 'fire, fire.'"
The fire started from a light switch behind the dresser just a few feet from Kristen's bed. The smoke detector was just outside her room, and it did not go off.
Instead her 9-year-old brother, Matthew, came to the rescue.
"I went in there and said, 'What is it, Kristen?'" Matthew said. "She said fire, so I looked in there, and I said, 'Come on, Kristen.'"
After making sure his sister was safe, Matthew crawled back into his parents' room and woke them up.
"The first time he said, 'fire,' I didn't believe him," said James Boyette, Matthew's stepfather. "But then, I came around the corner and saw smoke."
He was calm," said Lori Boyette, Matthew's mother. "He kept his cool and he stopped and thought about what he had learned and he went with it."
"I don't think that if I was nine years old, you would see me going through a door with fire right in the doorway," James said.
His sister was not the only thing Matthew was trying to save.
"First, I was thinking about getting my Pokemon cards then I said, 'No, she's not replaceable but those Pokemon cards are. So, I got her.'"
"He always tells me he hates me, but now I think he loves me because he saved my life," Kristen said.
James and Lori say they checked the battery in their smoke detector after the fire, and it was fine. The detector just malfunctioned. Reporter: Barbara Cain