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Mother Blamed for Toddler’s Death After Managing to Save Only One of Her Kids from Deadly Apartment Fire

Toddler Dies In Fire

DJ (far right) died of smoke inhalation after alerting his mother and younger sister to a fire that had broken out in their apartment. (Images courtesy of

A brave toddler managed to save his mom and younger sister when their apartment caught fire, but unfortunately died after running back through the flames to hide in his bedroom.

Kentucky woman Whitney Johnson, 26, was fast asleep on her sofa with 2-year-old son DJ and newborn daughter Nyla when a space heater in their apartment exploded and sparked a blaze, the Daily Mail reported. The smoke detector wasn’t working and it was not until DJ  awoke and shouted his mom’s name that Johnson realized her unit was engulfed in flames.

The mother grabbed her two children and made a dash for the front door amid the deadly flames. She was forced to let go of her son’s hand for a moment as she turned the key to unlock the door and escape to safety, but the terrified toddler rushed back to his bedroom to hide.

Struggling to locate her son amid the heavy fire and smoke, Johnson was faced with the tough decision to leave DJ behind and a save Nyla, whose scalp was severely burned by this time. Johnson quickly handed her daughter off to a neighbor and went back in to get her son but to no avail. DJ ultimately died of smoke inhalation after climbing into his bed.

“DJ is my hero,” the mother said as she recalled the harrowing event, which occurred on Nov. 20, 2015. “If it wasn’t for him yelling for me, we definitely would not be here.”

“…When I woke up, all I remember is flames everywhere and pitch black smoke,” she told Daily Mail. “It was like something out of the movies … At that point getting my son out was all that was on my mind. I tried to run back into the apartment but it was in flames.”

Johnson was left with burns covering 29 percent of her body while young Nyla, now 2-years-old, suffered 19 percent burns on her body. The mother and daughter spent two months in the hospital before they were discharged. Johnson’s eldest son, 8-year-old Braylen, wasn’t home when the deadly fire broke out.

Things have been far from peachy keen since the incident. Johnson said adults make crude comments about her daughter, who has visible scarring on her face, and blames her for the death of her son.

“She’s 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,” she said. “That really bothers me because I am angry at myself for not saving DJ. I’m supposed to be his protector and I wasn’t able to be there.”

Johnson said she now raises awareness about fire safety on her social media and encourages families to have a safety plan in the event of a fire.

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