OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — An Overland Park mom credits her 9-year-old, who has autism, with saving their family from a fire.
On Wednesday, the young hero got to meet a few of her heroes: the firefighters who made her feel safe that night.
“We had less than a 5% chance making it out unscathed, and we just feel really lucky,” mom Deidre Hof told FOX4.
But Hof and her family did make it out of the home alive — thanks to her 9-year-old, her super power and smoke detectors.
Olivia Hof is a hero. She also has autism. Hof said her daughter is more sensitive to sounds and smells.
Hof said Olivia saved their family when an electric blanket caught fire in the middle of the night.
“If she wouldn’t have woken us up, none of us would have made it out,” Hof said.
Olivia went into her mom’s room just after 1 a.m., shutting her own bedroom door behind her.
“I smelled something funny in my room,” Olivia said. “So I grabbed one of my stuffies and went to my mom’s room.”
Moments later, a faint smoke alarm went off.
Olivia’s room was already engulfed in flames. Her bedroom and everything in it is now completely destroyed, including the items Hof has spent years collecting for her daughter: the right clothes that are tagless and toys that are the right textures.
Hof rushed the kids outside. Then she grabbed the fire extinguisher and called 911. In minutes, Overland Park firefighters arrived.
“I definitely feel like it could have gone a different way,” Hof said. “Just hug your loved ones and don’t take people for granted.”
“I’m thinking, maybe I actually am like going to become a hero, going to help anybody that might be hurt and like help anyone out,” Olivia said, “and it makes me feel like I’m pretty strong.”
The fire also has experts warning about the risks of electric blankets.
Firefighters bring thermal imaging cameras to almost every call. Through it, you can see how hot the wires are inside the electric blanket. They get up to 104 degrees.
“And that’s without anything on top of it,” fire investigator and inspector Trevor Miller said. “You don’t want to put anything on top of the blankets. Pets aren’t supposed to be on top of electric blankets.”
Miller said you shouldn’t bundle electric blankets, put them in the dryer or plug them into extension cords. Miller also said it’s dangerous to tuck the wire under the mattress.
“You do not want to do that,” Miller said, “That’s pinching and insulating a wire, which could cause a fire.”
He reminded people that smoke alarms save lives. Hof said so does Olivia.
“I actually feel like I am a hero,” Olivia said.
The Hof family has been displaced. They don’t know when they will be able to go back home. While the family made it out safely, Olivia’s belongings and items are destroyed.
“It’s taken a little bit of our security,” Hof said.
If you’re interested in helping the family, you can donate here.
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