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A 10-year-old South Carolina girl is being hailed a hero after she saved her family from a fire in their home.
It was around 4 a.m. last April 21st when Aussie Talbot woke up and noticed an orange glow outside the window of her bedroom. Quickly realizing that the light was a huge flame coming from their front porch, Talbot began running from room to room, screaming “The house is on fire! Get up!”
“I was scared,” Aussie, 10, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I didn’t really know what to do except wake everybody up.”
Aussie’s mom Kelly Rowe, 35, says the terrifying experience “felt like a dream.”
“The dogs never barked,” she adds. “Nobody knew anything because the fire was in the attic.”
Just two minutes after Aussie, her mother, stepfather, and 16-year-old brother fled the house with their two dogs in tow, the ranch-style house was completely devoured in flames.
“[It was] like dragons coming out of every hole,” Rowe says, recalling the moment the family watched the attic cave in as they stood in the neighbor’s yard.
“It was scary,” adds Aussie. “And surprising. And sad.”
Kelly’s mom Donna Moynihan, 63, lives nearby and rushed to the scene soon after the fire broke out.
“I spoke to some of the firefighters and they said it was about three minutes between a rescue and a recovery,” she says. “It could have been four funerals or having this conversation right now.”
In the months after the devastating fire, Moynihan housed the family until they found a new home five miles away from their old home. The community has gone out of their way to offer support through gift cards and clothing and food donations, and little Aussie has been honored by the town and state for her bravery.
“It’s pretty awesome,” she says.
“The way we view it is, it’s not luck,” adds Aussie’s step-dad, Jon Rowe. “She had an angel looking out for her that morning. There’s no other explainable reason.”