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Middlesex Girl, 6, Saves Firefighting Dad, Family In Overnight House Blaze

Madalyn Karlbon with her dad, Jimmy.
Madalyn Karlbon with her dad, Jimmy. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Avenel Fire Dept.

LITTLE HERO: A Middlesex County firefighter, his wife and their two kids may have lost many of their belongings in a destructive weekend fire, but they have their 6-year-old daughter to thank for getting out safely.

The blare of a smoke detector woke Madalyn Karlbon, who saw smoke and immediately ran to wake her dad, former Fire Chief Jimmy Karlbon, shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.

A blaze that broke out after something was left cooking on the kitchen stove was spreading fast.

Madalyn’s mom had fallen asleep watching TV downstairs. Her father was in a nearby bedroom upstairs, as was her 2-year-old brother, Hunter.

Without hesitating, Madalyn “jumped into action and ultimately saved the lives of her family by remembering all she was taught during fire prevention week and through the vast knowledge that her dad and fellow firefighter family has instilled in her,” the department said.

Smoke was quickly filling the house as the elder Karlborn, a 17-year firefighting veteran, got his family out.

Fortunately, their first-grader had just received a fire lesson at school – from her dad.

Responders contained the fire to the kitchen and part of the dining room, but the smoke damage was extensive. The family will be living in a hotel for awhile.

Not that anyone is complaining.

“Madalyn, it goes without saying how bright and smart of a girl you are. [Sunday] morning proved that!!” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “You recognized danger immediately and were able to assist in getting everyone out of the house before the fire got worse.

“To say all of us here at the Avenel Fire Department are so proud of you is an understatement….Way to go Madalyn. You're indeed a hero!!!

DONATIONS: THE AVENEL FIRE COMPANY COMMUNITY FUND, 346 Avenel St., Avenel, NJ 07001

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