4-year-old girl saves family from burning home

Thanks to pint-sized hero, 5 escape Jacksonville house fire unharmed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 4-year-old girl helped save her family from a burning home in the Paxon neighborhood of Jacksonville's Westside on Thursday afternoon.

The pint-sized hero alerted her mother, two other adults and her 2-year-old brother that their house was on fire, allowing them all to get out safely.

Mesha Farland was the first person to see the fire break out about 1:30 p.m. inside the home on Rhonda Street near West First Street.

"When I was playing with my baby brother, I looked back and saw flames," the girl told News4Jax. "There was a bunch of smoke everywhere."

Mesha immediately ran to go tell her mom. 

"I just walked in there. The wall was covered in flames. It was shooting up to the roof," Amri Payne, Mesha's mother said. "My first thing was to get the baby out of the crib and get everyone out of the house."

A neighbor took cellphone video showing flames shooting from the windows as the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department battled the fire.

Coils from a bunk bed were all that was left in the room where the fire started. Throughout the home, ashes covered the floor.

"The kid's room is completely destroyed. The roof is pretty much done. There’s smoke everywhere," Payne said. "Barely anything is going to be salvageable.”

Mesha's mother said if it hadn't been for her daughter's instant reaction to get help, the aftermath of the blaze could have been much worse.

"She's a hero," Payne said. "I'm proud of her."

Asked how she felt to have saved her family, Mesha said: "Good! I love being a hero."

The Red Cross will be helping the family with temporary shelter. 

The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

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