'Saved my life:' Young survivor of house fire spreads message of fire prevention, preparedness


MILWAUKEE --  Eleven years ago, a 3-year-old girl found herself trapped inside a burning home, fearing for her life. Thankfully, firefighters arrived just in time and were able to pull her out. Now 14, Kiara spreads a message of fire prevention and preparedness.

In a house fire, a moment is sometimes all you'll have to make life-saving decisions.

"I was just really scared," said Kiara.

In 2008, her home caught fire and she was trapped inside, but fortunately, firefighters came to her rescue. On Monday, Oct. 7, she shared her story with other kids, in the hopes of teaching them how to survive.

"What we do here is teach kids about fire safety," said Lt. Julian Gladney at the Survive Alive House.

Inside the Survive Alive House in Milwaukee on Monday, immersive training scenarios were practiced by a class of second-graders.

"What we find out is that hands-on teaching practices are things that stay with kids," said Gladney.

A mock fire starts in the Survive Alive House, and kids have to practice correct fire escape methods, from avoiding smoke to calling for help.

"(It is scary), but it's really not real," said Laila Hayes, second-grader. "It's just a practice."

But for Kiara, it was real.

"Kids will know what to do if they are in a situation like I was," said Kiara.

Since the Survive Alive House program's inception 26 years ago, roughly 350,000 kids have come through, and those who have experienced fires said these simple lessons can and will save lives.

"I think it will because they saved my life," said Kiara.

CLICK HERE to view basic fire safety tips as noted by the City of Milwaukee.