‘Smoke pouring out of the walls’: Southgate family says 4-year-old daughter saved them from fire

Water damage destroyed the house

A Southgate family said their 4-year-old daughter saved them from a fire by waking her parents up in the middle of the night.

SOUTHGATE, Mich. – A Southgate couple said their 4-year-old daughter saved them from a fire by waking them up in the middle of the night.

When they parents woke up they saw smoke and realized the house was on fire. They believe if they were asleep for a few more minutes they may not have survived.

Nevah, 4, woke her mother up around 2 a.m. because she likes to sleep with the TV on. That’s when the couple realized their house was on fire.

“It can happen in the blink of an eye. Whole world turned upside down,” Brianna Kelley said. “He turned on the light and saw smoke pouring out of the walls.”



The couple grabbed their two babies and their dogs and made it out of the house alive.

“Had we waited 10 more minutes we wouldn’t have been able to make it down the stairs,” Brianna Kelley said.

Brianna Kelley said they didn’t smell the smoke. The fire started behind a built-in dresser in the attic.

“They actually say the paneling saved our lives because it contained the fire in the one spot,” Brianna Kelley said.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire but significant water damage destroyed the home.

“We’ve redone every room in the house. Just got new furniture. So this is very hard to see,” Brianna Kelley said.

Brianna Kelley said she’s grateful for the support neighbors, friends and family have provided.

Click here to visit a GoFundMe page set up for the family by a friend.

Read: More local news coverage


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.