9-year-old girl helps mother escape from house fire


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A nine-year-old girl is being called a hero after she helped rescue her mother from a house fire.

In a matter of moments, the unthinkable happened for the Butler family. A fire had started in their kitchen. The sound of their smoke detector and the smell of smoke woke the family up.

“It’s like a burning rubber and burning metal smell,” said nine-year-old Abby Butler. “That smell you can’t get it out of your head and nose, you can always smell it at random times. Every time I hear water or see water I always get that smell because it reminds me of the fire department going to hose.”

“I was just shocked, and I am like ‘What do I do’?. I knew I had to get my kids out, that was the very first thing, getting my kids out,” said Kari Butler, Abby’s mother.

Kari Butler’s six-year-old son, who has Autism, and Abby, were able to army crawl to get out of the house, something they learned from their father, who is a Fort Wayne firefighter. Once they made it outside, they noticed they were missing someone. Their mother was still trapped in the basement.

“I opened that door and it was super hot, smoke came in my face, made my face all black,” Abby recalled. “I broke the bottom window to unlock it, but the fire was right in front of it.”

After reality set in that she wasn’t going to be able to save her mom alone, she jetted to the fire station right next to her house. As Kari Butler waited for her daughter to return with help, she felt only one emotion: fear.

“There was a moment there when I didn’t think I would get out,” Kari Butler said. “I called my husband while I was in there and I just let him know that the kids are out, the house is on fire, just know that they’re safe but if I don’t get out I love you.”

Neighbors did call 9-1-1 about the fire, but the fire department wasn’t dispatched quick enough. With Abby’s thinking quick on her feet, she got her mom help in the nick of time.

It will be around six to eight months before the Butlers can return to their home, but through the dark cloud of smoke, Abby Butler told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that she is grateful for the support from the community and she is truly blessed.

When WANE 15 originally posted the story, the Butler’s were looking for their cat Nala. Friday, Kari Butler told WANE that Nala didn’t make it out the house and died.

Here is a photo of the Butler’s cat Nala. He is still missing. If you have any information regarding his whereabouts, contact Kari Butler at butlergirl2121@gmail.com.

Basches Martial Arts started a donation box for the Butlers, and there is a Gofundme page created.

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