11-year-old girl honored for heroic act to save brother trapped inside burning Charlotte apartment
An 11-year-old girl in Charlotte is being honored for her heroic actions that firefighters say saved her 6-year-old brother’s life.
Tyshala Wilson says she has a lot of fears.
“I have to say, I used to be scared of a lot of things. I’m scared of spiders, snakes, and a lot more. It’s kind of hard to say I haven’t been scared before,” Tyshala said.
But when her mother’s apartment caught fire in March, she knew she couldn’t let fear stand in the way of saving her brother’s life.
“It was the fact that I saw my brother cry and scream. That moment kind of made me feel like he was in danger more than I was. So it kind of kicked in at that moment, like I had to do something for him,” Tyshala said.
Tyshala says when she walked into the kitchen and saw the flames, she was scared but knew she just had to get to her brother.
“I got scared and I run back in my room and I protected my brother as far and as fast as I could,” Tyshala said.
Firefighters say Tyshala took her brother to a room away from the fire, closed the door to protect them from flames, and called 911.
“She knew to call 911. She knew to get her brother to safety,” firefighter Amy Rea said.
Firefighters Amy Rea and Christie Russell taught fire safety to Tyshala’s third grade class in 2019. Tyshala was able to use what she learned during that training to save her and her brother’s life.
“It turned out pretty fine. My brother is running around in school right now, happy with his friends and all,” Tyshala said.
Their home was left with significant damage but what’s important, is thanks to Tyshala’s bravery, Firefighters were able to save her and her brother from the burning apartment.
“I just have to say if I wasn’t here right now, my mom would be in tears. My grandma would be crying and it would be an endless nightmare,” Tyshala said.
But Wednesday, instead of tears, Tyshala’s mother was all smiles as her brave daughter was presented with the Heroism Award by the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal and North Carolina’s Insurance Commissioner.
“Our communication received the call via a child inside the apartment,” Charlotte Fire Captain Dennis Gist said. “There were two children inside the apartment. The child stayed on the phone with our dispatchers, gave instructions to where they were on the second floor.”
“Upon our arrival, the older child allowed for her brother to come down the ladder first and she also shut the doors to keep the smoke and any harmful substance from getting to where they were,” Gist said.
That’s something, as the captain said, a hero would do.
“The child is a hero,” Gist said. “This child did a very good job and helped save lives today.”
Officials said most of the damage was isolated to one apartment. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but no injuries were reported.