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A Kinston, North Carolina teenager is getting well-deserved praise for rescuing his 7-month-old cousin Tuesday from the family’s burning house, WITN-TV reports.

Jarraine “LJ” Gray, 17, had to think fast to save his cousin who was sleeping inside the house while the rest of the family was in the backyard when the fire started.


The grandmother first saw the smoke and yelled out to other family members. LJ Gray, a junior at Kinston High School, ran in through the back door and into the kitchen to get to his cousin, Michari Strayhorn, who was in an adjacent room.

The teen then tried to leave the same way he came in, but by that time the fire and smoke were too intense, according to Captain William Barss. Gray quickly thought, turned around and ran out the front door.

“My daddy called the fire department, and I got the baby, ran in front got the baby, and by the time I got the baby the back, it was like fire, so I just ran through the front,” Gray told us this morning.


Kinston Fire Rescue said the fire started from over-cooked food on the stove. Barss noted that LJ rescued his cousin while wearing basketball shorts and sneakers—not all the protective gear firefighters wear.

Unfortunately, the family lost everything in the fire. LJ’s grandmother, however, vows to rebuild the house.

In the meantime, the family launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $5,000 to help them recover from their loss.



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North Carolina Teen Rescues Baby Cousin From Burning Home  was originally published on