Aug 31 2009

He says God woke him up...


As a family is sleeping in their Roseland home, a fire breaks out, and an 11-year-old boy wakes up and jumps into action. He saves the family and becomes a hero. And now they're all getting a new place to call home.

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports that their new home in Riverdale is a three-bedroom, one bath with a family room in the basement. But the real star of this story is the boy who risked his own life to save his family, and earned a house as a reward.

If the Bell family can gather for a group picture on their front porch, it's thanks to the level head of one of its youngest members: 11-year-old Adonis Bell.

"God woke me up and I got everybody out. If he didn't wake me up, we were gonna be dead," Adonis said.

A kitchen fire gutted their south side home last Wednesday as all six people inside were asleep. But Adonis was awakened by the smoke.

"Every time I go to sleep, I still remember what happened," Adonis said.

His first instinct was to run for his 2-year-old cousin Jordan Hobbs and wake his family.

"At my school, the fireman, he told us, 'Don't grab anything. Get yourself and everybody else out,'" Adonis said.

The 11-year-old boy was able to think quickly. He took his cousin outside and told her to hold onto the front gate tightly while he ran back inside the burning house to try to save the rest of his family.

"I ran back in to get my Auntie Karen, and then she came out. And that's when I ran back in and I woke my brother up, and my brother went upstairs and got my grandma," Adonis said.

"It's unbelievable that he was so calm and levelheaded at the time," said grandmother Karen Bell.

Karen says the family has been left homeless, but they have nothing but praise for Adonis, and so does the mayor of neighboring Riverdale.

"That young man was brave, and he did something that most people probably would have not done, and that touched my heart," said Riverdale Mayor Deyon Dean.

Adonis said he wasn't scared.

"Because I know that God was on my side and I'm not going to get hurt," he said.

The Bell family didn't have fire insurance, which is why they needed a new place to start all over again.

For Adonis' efforts, the Bells are being rewarded with a new three-bedroom home, purchased by Riverdale for $1 with Housing and Urban Development funds. And $45,000 in federal funds are going to be administered through Cook County to help refurbish the home. The whole process should take about 45 days.

The Bell family will be able to move into the home in a matter of weeks, thanks to the 11-year-old who stayed calm and saved the day.

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