UPDATED: Four year old hears smoke alarms, wakes up family - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATED: Four year old hears smoke alarms, wakes up family

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A four-year-old is credited with helping his family escape a burning mobile home this morning.  Crews were called to the 700 block of Ridgeway Avenue in Cedar Falls around 6 a.m. Thursday.  After escaping the home unharmed, the mother used a garden hose to put out the fire.

The stars really aligned for four-year-old Rylee Nolan to save the day.  He was at the right place, at the right time, and did exactly what he needed to do to give this story a happy ending.

Rylee Nolan sat as his bed frame Thursday morning, right in the spot where he was laying when his family's home caught fire earlier in the day.

"I seen it, and I do this (rubs eyes) and I see the fire and it wake me up," Nolan said.

Fire was quickly climbing up his bedroom wall.

"Then I see smoke coming in my nose," Nolan said.

Then the smoke alarm sounded.  So little Rylee went to get his parents.

"I come in and wake up Daddy and Mommy, and I tell them my room was fired," said Nolan.

His mom says she's talked with her kids about what to do in an emergency, but was surprised her four-year-old did exactly what he should.

"We always tell him if something happens, come tell us.  But he did really good.  I was so shocked," said mom Ashley Hannan.

The Cedar Falls fire chief says this is a textbook case of exactly why families should practice fire escape plans and have working smoke alarms.

"If they didn't have a working smoke detector, we'd be talking about a whole different issue today.  And it would not be a very good thing to talk about," said Chief John Schilling.

The family knows just how lucky they are, thanks to their alarm and the quick actions of the little boy.

We asked Nolan, "A lot of people say you're a hero.  Do you know what that means?"

"No," he said.

Rylee might not understand, but his parents sure do.

"He is our little hero.  He woke us all up.  If it wasn't for him, we might not be here right now," said Hannan.

And get this: Rylee's parents just moved his little brother's crib last week.  It used to sit along the very wall that caught fire Thursday morning.  So luck was definitely on the family's side, keeping them safe from what could've been a devastating fire.

Unfortunately, the family does not have insurance.  So they're trying to determine if it will cost less to make the needed electrical and home repairs or just move.  The Red Cross is offering some assistance to help.

By the way—if you need a life-saving smoke detector, the Cedar Falls Fire Department can help.  It offers free alarms to Cedar Falls homes that don't currently have them.  The department can also do a free fire safety home check. To learn more, call (319) 273-8622.

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