Heroic 10-year-old saves mother, brothers from Middletown house fire

A brave 10-year-old saved her mother and younger brothers from a house fire in Middletown on Tuesday night.The mother, who was badly burned, and her daughter talked with WLWT at the hospital about what happened.The single mother of three says she is in intense pain from the burns.Erica Brown, who is in the critical care unit at Atrium Hospital, said her children are her strength as she fights to recover.”She (her daughter) dragged me down the stairs because I couldn’t walk,” Brown said.She sheds tears in her hospital bed.Brown is severely burned and has frightening memories of the fire at her home on Tuesday.”I tried to put it out. Me and mom tried several times and then it got bigger and I fell, and my face got burned and my arms are burned,” Brown said.Brown said her young son accidentally knocked over a candle in her bedroom.She said they light the candle each night in memory of the father of her children.Brown told WLWT he died in an accident last November.She said the flames in her house grew quickly and smoke filled the home.Her 10-year-old daughter, Makalea Gabbard, jumped into action.”I told everybody to get out of the house. The last thing I grabbed out of the house was my mom and I had to help her slowly because she was in bad pain,” Gabbard said.Gabbard said she took a breath, calmed down and called 911.She tended to her mother and her brothers, ages 4 and 9.”If it wasn’t for me, my mom wouldn’t be here or my brothers right now. Any of us wouldn’t be here right now,” Gabbard said.Her mother said they’ve lost everything but she thanks God they are still alive.”My babies are going to keep me strong. I’m living for my babies. That’s all that matters,” Brown said.Brown is surrounded by family as she recovers.They said she is what’s most important right now.Firefighters haven’t determined an official cause of the fire.An incident report shows fire crews estimate nearly $30,000 in damage.Family members said they are trying to gather donations for everything because the family is now without even the bare essentials, such as clothes.Brown’s mother, Dewonia Brown, is helping organize donations and said anyone who’d like to help can reach her at 513-393-1365.Raven Starr told WLWT her church is collecting donations to help the family.She said donations can be dropped off at Grace Community Church on Mondays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.The church is located at 1703 Pershing Ave., Middletown, Ohio 45044.Starr can be reached at 513-393-1817.