'Hero' toddler dies after saving mother and sister from house fire

Photo Taken In Aachen, Germany
Photo credit: Getty

A heartbroken mother is remembering her toddler as a hero, after he saved her and his sister from a house fire but didn't make it out himself.

Kentucky woman Whitney Johnson, 26, was asleep on the couch with two-year-old DJ in November 2015 when a heater exploded, setting her apartment alight in the early hours of the morning.

The smoke detector failed, she told The Sun - but DJ woke up and went to wake up his mother. She grabbed his hand, picked up five-week-old Nyla and ran towards the door.

But while Nyla and Ms Johnson escaped, frightened DJ let go and ran back to his room, hiding under the covers where he died of smoke inhalation.

"He ran directly to his room and shut his door," she told The Sun.

"He was coughing and yelling for me and I was trying to look for him but couldn't see him through the black smoke and flames.

"I looked at my daughter and her scalp was melting and that forced me out."

Still in shock, Ms Johnson went on to alert the other 30 residents of the apartment block, who all made it out alive.

It's now been two years since the tragedy but Ms Johnson says her family is reminded every day.

She received burns to 29 percent of her body, and baby Nyla on 19 percent of her body.

Now two, Nyla is laughed at and treated like a "monster" by strangers, Ms Johnson told The Sun.

"She has been called a baby Freddy Krueger and strangers online have told me I should have died in the fire and that it was my fault I didn't save my son.

"I cry when I read through those comments but those people have never been in my shoes.

"There was absolutely nothing I could have done."