Scotland County middle school student saves family from house fire

Kaliyah Harrington saved her family from a house fire Oct. 29
Kaliyah Harrington saved her family from a house fire Oct. 29(Scotland County School)
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 6:17 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2022 at 6:19 PM EST
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LAURINBURG, N.C. (WMBF) - An 11-year-old girl is a hero after saving her family from a house fire.

Kaliyah Harrington, a sixth grader at Carver Middle School, woke up in the middle of the night on Oct. 29 to discover her home filled with smoke. Springing into action she grabbed a bandana to shield her mouth and nose from the smoke, crawled on the floor, and began screaming to wake her family.

Harrington said she was scared but didn’t panic as she made sure to get her siblings out of the house. Terrified, being awoken by her screaming daughter and the smoke, Harrington’s mother, Precious McNeil worked to get the rest of the family out.

“I just opened the door and got my siblings out,” said Harrington. “(Mom) got my dad and my brother out. And she was like ‘where’s your other sister? She was like Chloe, Chloe, where’s Chloe?’ I went back in the house and I got her out.”

Harrington says a fire drill held at her middle school helped her learn how to save her family.

“I feel good that nobody was left in the house,” Harrington said.

Unable to wake the neighbors and without phones which were left in the home, McNeil was able to grab her car keys and make a one-minute drive to her cousin’s house to call 911. By the time the family returned to the home, the house was a complete loss.

McNeil, a proud mother, said she’s always known Kaliyah would do great things and now she has been named “Youth of the Year” by the Scotland County NAACP Youth Council.

”When she was going to head start, her principal told me, that’s going to be my young scholar right there,” said McNeil “At two years old, Kaliyah was able to speak in complete sentences. And I’ve never met a child who was as mature as she was. It is a blessing to have her.”

As for Harrington’s siblings, her sister Chloe says her sister is her new “Fire Hero.”

Scotland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Takeda LeGrand said Kaliyah’s heroic actions reflect the mission statement of Scotland County Schools.

“I am grateful for our team members at Carver Middle School who have helped to mold Kaliyah into the young lady that she is today and provided her with the skills needed to help her family escape with their life,” said LeGrand. “We are very proud of Kaliyah and we know her future is extremely bright. Most importantly, we are thankful that no one was severely injured in the fire and that we’re able to continue to work closely with Kaliyah and her family as they continue to recover from this devastating event,”

Harrington was honored by the Scotland County Board of Commissioners Monday night for her heroic actions.