Jan Hunt has a hero. And she says she owes her life to him.
Her knight - barefoot and dressed only in pajamas - woke her up early Sunday to help rescue her from of her burning home.Her hero is her 9-year-old son, Justin.
Sunday morning, Justin woke up to hear something exploding in the room next to his bedroom. He immediately noticed smoke rolling underneath his closed bedroom door and instinctively crawled out of his basement window.
Only one week earlier, Salt Lake County firefighters had presented a program during an assembly at Sandy Elementary School, teaching the students what to do and what not to do in the event of a fire.
Apparently, Justin had been been listening intently.
After he crawled out of his window, Justin ran inside the front door screaming. "He yelled, `Fire! Fire! Get up, Mom! Get out!' " Jan Hunt said. "The flames were shooting 10 feet out the basement window."
Black smoke was quickly filling the house. Both had a difficult time breathing. But both managed to escape the burning home without any injury.
Sandy firefighters were at their house at 9098 S. 440 East almost immediately and were able to extinguish the fire very quickly, said Sandy Battalion Chief Dave Meldrum.
"Justin did everything right. I was real proud of him," his mother said. "He was basically a hero."
Meldrum said damage to the house was estimated at $9,000 and was contained to one room in the basement. The cause of the fire, however, was very unusual.
Fire officials believe that a cat tore open a bag that had been left on top of a stove in the basement. In the process, the cat also turned on one of the burners. The stove apparently caught the articles on fire. The heat from the blaze was so intense, it caused hair-spray cans to explode, Meldrum said.
"That's what woke him up," Jan Hunt explained.
Although the cat suffered burns in the blaze, firefighters were able to rescue the animal. The family had moved into the house only one week earlier.
But despite the trauma, Jan Hunt said she is thankful to have a son that paid attention to the lessons about fire safety and then remembered them when he had to.
"One firefighter told me, `If your son had opened the door, we would have found both of you dead. He saved your life.' " she said.