A doll that was part of a La Vergne High School project to give teens a realistic look at parenting woke up 17-year-old Christian Deason just as a fire was destroying the family's home in a Nashville, Tenn., suburb.
The doll is programmed to cry at different times of the day and night, just like a newborn baby. Deason's teacher had programmed the doll Friday before school let out for the weekend. Deason brought the doll home not knowing when it was programmed to cry.
At 3:30 a.m. Oct. 24, the baby doll began to cry, waking Deason up just as the fire was eating its way through the house. Deason immediately got everyone out of the house.
"It was a big white wall of smoke," Deason said. "I fanned it for a second, and I see flames. I ran straight to my mother's room, got her out, got my dog out, put the toy baby in the carrier, and we were out."
La Vergne Fire Marshal Victor Woods told Channel 4 News the fire detectors in the house were not working and the family had only about a minute to get out of the house.
"The toy doll crying was really the key to getting them out safely," said Woods.
Marina Deason, Christian Deason's mother, believes fate may have played a hand in the teacher's setting the program for the doll to cry at 3:30 a.m.
"I think God works in mysterious ways," said Marina Deason. "Definitely fate had something to do with it."
"I was supposed to get this baby, I was supposed to take it home — everything was supposed to happen the way it happened," said Christian Deason.
The family lost everything. If you would like to help, you can donate at any First Tennessee Bank. Just ask for the Deason Family Fire Fund.