Duluth Teen Hailed as Hero for Saving Family from House Fire
15-year-old Lizzy Grayhawk awoke to the second story of her home on the 1100 block of East 10th street on fire -- heavy flames coming from a second story window.
DULUTH, Minn.- A Duluth family is lucky to be alive after their house went up in flames, and fire officials are calling the family’s 15-year-old daughter a hero in the fire fight.
“You might’ve been scared, but you really were a hero last night,” Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj said to Lizzy Grayhawk Tuesday.
The Grayhawk family all safe and sound,thanks to their daughter Lizzy’s quick action early that morning.
“I woke up ‘cause like it was getting real hot from the side of me and my whole tapestry was on fire, and the LED lights and then the stuff on my top bunk were on fire. It was really scary,” said Lizzy.
15-year-old Lizzy awoke to the second story of her home on the 1100 block of East 10th street on fire — heavy flames coming from a second story window.
“She did the right thing. Came and got us and she helped us all get out of the house right away,” her mother Chelsie said. And Lizzy acted not a moment too soon.
“Within minutes, a huge fireball flew down the stairs and blew out glass and slammed the doors. And that was the way we came out,” said Chelsie. “So within minutes we would’ve, it wouldn’t have ended so good and we, probably more of us would’ve been in the hospital.”
The family knew their exit plan and everyone made it out safe, with only Lizzy’s dad suffering burns on his hand from fighting the fire in her room.
Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj says that shows fire preparedness is not something to take lightly.
“I think sometimes we think of this as just something we kind of do as a school project but this is a prime example of why it’s so important to make those plans, have those talks with the entire family not just the kids but the adults too,” said the Chief.
The Grayhawks thanked the neighbors and first responders who came to their aid, after they had to drop everything to run from flames.
“When we show up to scenes like this its devastation,” Police Captain Joe Miketin said.
“They were standing on the sidewalk with no shoes on. And it just broke my heart and I wanted to treat them like how I would want my family to be treated in a similar circumstance,” he said.
Firefighters estimate the damage at $75,000 to the structure, and $50,000 in damaged contents. Now the Grayhawks work on picking up the pieces of their life.
“Everything was lost in the fire. And it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to save much so, we’re starting from scratch and starting over again,” Chelsie said.
But they say the lives Lizzy helped save are priceless.
“I’m just very blessed to just be here,” said her mother.
Lizzy will be recognized for her heroism. She will be receiving the “Citizen Life Saver Award” from the fire department in August. That was last given in 2016 to another teen who helped save their elderly neighbor.
The family learned after the fire their renters insurance had lapsed, and they will not receive any help to cover the costs of the fire or to pay for the items that were lost. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help them recover.