DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. (CBS) -- A life saving 11 year-old and his teen sister received a hero’s award and warm welcome in Douglas County Thursday. 

“I was asleep, me and my sisters and my cousins were all asleep and it started getting hotter and hotter in my room,” Calil Gillis told CBS46 News.

Back in the early hours of July 4, a family’s worst nightmare became a reality.

“I looked out my window, it’s a raging fire coming up my window,” Gillis explained.

That’s when Gillis realized his home was full of smoke. He rushed to his two siblings and two cousin who were also in the home to get them up and get out immediately.

While the blaze ripped through the home, Gillis’s two parents were at work. The phone rang and they received the most frightening call of their lives.

“Everything freezes, it’s like time and space everything freezes in that moment. It’s like how can I get there and make sure they’re OK as quick as possible,” Gillis’s mother, Charetta Pryor-Goodwin told CBS46 NEWS.

Gillis’s father arrived first.

“I just see our house just as high as trees can go it’s just engulfed. We lost everything,” Gillis’s Father Bryant Goodwin explained.

While all their belongings were burned and charred, the Goodwins told CBS46 NEWS they’re grateful what’s most important, they’re three children, are all alive and well. They added, that’s thanks to the fire drills they routinely held in their home.

“They followed it to a T, but I just thank God for them,” Goodwin said.

A GoFundMe was set up for the family. 

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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