Firefighters are calling an 8-year-old Laurel boy a hero after his actions likely saved his family from a fire early Thursday morning.
Heavy flames and smoke shot out of the Crum family's home, waking 8-year-old Joel up in the middle of the night. His hero instincts immediately kicked in.
"I said, 'Fire! Fire!'" Joel explained. "I woke up my mom and my brother and my dad."
The four got out of the home in time, and though they lost a lot, Joel's parents say they couldn't be happier with their son.
"He's awesome. I'm sorry. Joel is a special kid," David Crum said.
Even the firefighters agreed.
"This kid is truly amazing," Beltsville firefighter Matt Tomlins said. "At the time of the emergency, he definitely thought with a clear head. His quick action prevented further injury."
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
When asked if he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up, Joel said he's seen enough fire for a while.
Investigators believe a grill was accidentally left burning on the back porch. The Crum family has home owners insurance and is in the process of salvaging sentimental photos from the charred home.