GLADSTONE, Mo. – Maxx Gerhardt is only 8 years old, and his family is calling him a hero.
On Saturday, Nov. 18, Maxx was sleeping on the couch when he smelled something odd.
“When I woke up, I smelled smoke and I ran to my mom and dad's room, and my dad told me to get my little sister. I picked her up with a blanket where she was sleeping and I took her outside,” Maxx said.
Amy Feurer said the house was filled with smoke.
“I opened my eyes and I looked at the living room from my bed, and all I could see is it looked really cloudy, and I could smell it,” Feurer said.
She said the family may not have made it out of the home if it weren’t for Maxx.
“If he wouldn't have been there to smell that smoke, and to wake up, and to know and come get us, we probably wouldn't have made it because our fire alarm did not go off,” she said. “None of our fire alarms did.”
“He did awesome,” Maxx’s dad Shane Gerhardt said. “I don't know what we'd do without this kid. I know we wouldn't be here.”
Feurer said the batteries in her smoke detectors were dead.
“I'm the type that never thought it would happen to me, and it did and we were not prepared,” Feurer said. “We should've been prepared.”
Now Feurer wants to urge everyone to take a few minutes to check their smoke detectors.
“It takes five minutes to do that. Let your kids go on YouTube and watch videos of fire drills because in an instant, in an hour, you can lose anything you own and lose your life or your kids’ life if you don't do that,” Feurer said.
Fire officials suggest checking the batteries at least monthly.
Feurer said insurance adjusters have told her the house is a total loss but said she’s had overwhelming support from family and friends.
The family does have a GoFundMe page set up for donations to help with costs.