“She opened the door and saw smoke and flames,” said Candice Schott, principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where Cloe is a pre-K student.
But Cloe didn’t freeze, her mother told the principal. Instead, Schott said, the precocious little girl used a lesson she learned months ago during a field trip to the Kenner Fire Department: She woke up her grandmother, who is blind, and led her out of the house.
“The grandmother asked to stop to get her shoes, and [Cloe] said, ‘No, we have to get out,’” Schott said.
Cloe also rescued her dog from the burning house.
“She saved her grandmother’s life and saved her own life,” Kenner Fire Chief John Hellmers told WWL-TV.
Cloe’s mother, Shone Arceneaux, was dropping her son off for a carpool at the time of the fire. Arceneaux told WWL that Cloe guided her grandmother by telling her “to hold her shoulder, and that they had to get out of the house.”
The fire appeared to have started near the stove, WWL reported. After Arceneaux returned to the house, she discovered what Cloe had done.
“She was running and telling the neighbors to call 911, and I said, ‘What’s going on?’” Arceneaux told WWL. “She said the house is on fire, so I jump out of the car and said, ‘What?!’”
Arceneaux asked her daughter what made her think to awaken her grandmother and flee the house so quickly, Schott said.
The girl responded: “That’s what they taught us.”
Back in October, Cloe’s class visited the fire department to learn about fire safety, a typical trip for the younger grades.
“They learn mainly about getting out of the house, getting their family out of the house, not stopping to get things — just worrying about life,” said the principal.
But little Cloe doesn’t quite grasp the gravity of what transpired that early Wednesday morning, her principal said.
“For her, it was what she was taught to do, so she did it,” Schott said. “For all of us very easily, child or adult, could freeze in that situation.”
The 5-year-old is “very outgoing, very friendly. She’s a bright young lady, a quick learner,” said Schott. “In many ways, she’s a typical pre-K student who loves to play and loves her friends.”