Kinston teen honored after saving 7 month old cousin from burning home

KINSTON, NC (WITN) - A Kinston teen is being honored today after running into a burning house to save his 7-month old cousin.

Local hero "LJ" Gray was honored by the Kinston Police Department at the City of Kinston Council meeting Monday night.

He was presented with a community lifesaving award.

The seventeen year old ran into a home on South Adkin Street back in April to rescue his baby cousin who was sleeping inside. According to Kinston Fire Rescue, the flames started from over-cooked food on the stove and the home was a total loss.

The grandmother was the first one to see the smoke and yelled out for help when "LJ" gray, a junior at Kinston High School, ran through the back door and into the kitchen to get to an adjacent room and save his cousin.

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A high school student is being called a hero by firefighters after he ran into a burning home to rescue his seven month old cousin.

Kinston Fire Rescue says the home on South Adkin Street was a total loss after the Tuesday fire that started from over-cooked food on the stove.

The baby was inside sleeping, while the family was in the backyard when the fire broken out, according to Captain William Barss.

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 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.

The captain says this all happened before the first fire trucks arrived at the home.

"As a firefighter were trained with all of the protective equipment that we have, the bunker pants, the coats the hoods, gloves, to go into these fires and were trained to know our limits," said Captain Barss. "And this young man did it with even less than what an average person would be wearing on the street."

The high school student was only wearing basketball shorts and sneakers at the time.

Gray and his cousin were checked out by the Lenoir County Emergency Medical Services, and had no injuries from the smoke or fire.

The teen and his cousin, along with other family lived in the home, and they lost everything in the fire.

The grandmother, who owns the home, says they will rebuild.