EARLIER: 'All I could think of was I had to get him out'

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Carried him from burning house to safety

By Lisa King

A little boy is safe today thanks to the heroic efforts of his nanny, who ran barefoot through a wall of flames to rescue him from a burning house.


Although badly burned, Alyson Myatt of Shelby County carried the 5-year-old out of the house and took him to a neighbor’s home, where she called 911, Shelbyville Fire Chief Willard Tucker said.

The chief said the home, located at 68 Golden Rod Court in North Country subdivision, near West Middle School, sustained massive fire damage.

“We got the call at 6:30 a.m., and the house was completely engulfed when we arrived,” he said. “It was almost totally destroyed.”

Tucker said the fire started in the ceiling fan in the bathroom.

“The nanny called [the landlord] earlier in the night and told him that it had been smoking, but that she thought it was OK,” he said.

The boy’s guardian, J.B. Hawes, was out of town when the fire broke out, Tucker said.

Myatt described the terror Tuesday afternoon from the University of Louisville Medical Center, , where she was awaiting a bed in the burn unit.

She said she was awakened at about 3 a.m. by a loud thump on the ceiling of her bedroom.

“At first, I didn’t know the house was on fire, I thought maybe he had fallen out of bed,” she said.

When she started upstairs to check on the boy, she said she was met by thick smoke and leaping flames.

“I was scared, but not for myself—all I could think of was I had to get him out,” she said.

Tucker said what Myatt did was nothing short of heroic.

“What she did, not many people would do,” he said. “All that fire, and she ran right through it barefoot without a thought for herself. If she had not done what she did, he would have died—there’s no question about it." 

Tucker said he did not know the extent of Myatt’s injuries, but that he was sure they were severe.

“She had second- and third-degree burns over a lot of her body from running through all that fire and shielding the boy with her body,” he said. “I’m sure she’s got a long recovery ahead of her.”

Myatt’s mother, Donnita Myatt, said when she was called to the hospital, she didn’t know what to expect.

“I tried not to think the worst until I got here,” she said.

She added that her daughter sustained the worst burns on her arms and hands and feet.

“All the skin is burned off the bottom of her feet and one of her hands is just a huge awful blister,” she said. “But what she did—she saved that little boy, and I am proud of her for doing that.”