CEDAR HILL, MO (KTVI) - It was a case of neighbors saving neighbors from a fire in Jefferson County. A mother and her young daughter were sleeping in their burning home in Cedar Hill. Thankfully, for the six people who lived there, someone was banging at the front door.
Homeowner John Fauller, told Fox 2 he’d already gone to work. The three older children had already gone to school. His girlfriend, Andria Hanak, and their 4-year-old daughter were sleeping in mom and dad’s bedroom. A faulty hot water heater likely sparked the fire, Fauller said. His wife and child didn’t wake up.
Luckily, Michaela Pikey and her boyfriend Christopher Chaves were driving their son Kolten to preschool. They happened to go by Fauller’s home on Jenny Court. There was no raging fire, but Christopher noticed dark smoke.
“As soon we got up the hill he hit the brakes, he’s like, ‘is that smoke’? I was like, ‘yeah’,” Pikey said. “I called the fire department and started running up to the door. We were already walking into the house by the time they said, ‘911 dispatch’.”
“It could have gotten bigger,” Cedar Hill Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Greg Shuster said of the fire. “I don’t remember if her windows were open but it could have escalated very well to trap them.”
“[Hanak] was just so stunned. I was like, ‘your house in on fire’. She just grabbed her baby and ran out,” Pikey said. “Smoke detectors weren’t going off. Nobody was around. It was just crazy. It was really scary.”
Pikey and Chaves said a game they play with Kolten -- picking which route they take to school -- led them by Fauller’s home. They often take another route. They don’t really feel like heroes.
But given the potential for tragedy had they not been there, that’s exactly what they are as far as firefighters are concerned.
“I feel like I’m a good neighbor. But everybody tells me that’s what heroes are supposed to feel like,” Pikey said smiling.
“I think it’s outstanding what she did,” Shuster said. “We always say the bad stuff in the community. Here’s a neighbor who stepped up and did the right thing.”
Fauller said he can't thank Chaves and Pikey enough. The home is not insured. If you can help, contact the American Red Cross.
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