Crying baby doll
A little life saver. Image: angeldye/Flickr/CC BY-ND

A school assignment may have saved the lives of three people in La Vergne, Tenn. A crying baby doll used to teach school children about child-rearing alerted a teen to a fire in her home early Monday morning.

Doll programmed to cry

Seventeen-year-old Christian Deason received the doll, programmed by her teacher, on Friday. The doll is programmed to cry several times a day, requiring a response from the student.

Fire stated early Monday

The fire started about 3:30 a.m. in the family’s laundry room. The fire alarm in the home was checked a week earlier. But authorities say it never went off because the alarm was in the mother’s bedroom, on the opposite side of the house.

It was the doll that woke the girl.

‘Normally a heavy sleeper’

Kathy Tyson, a spokesperson for the City of La Vergne, told reporters:

“The student said she was normally a heavy sleeper but hadn’t been since she had to bring the doll home. The doll was making noise and woke her up. She went to leave the room because she thought she heard what sounded like a plate breaking. When she opened the door, the smoke hit her in the face.”

A shattering window

What sounded like a plate breaking was a window shattering under the blaze. “It was a big white wall of smoke. I fanned it for a second, and I see flames,” Deason said. After seeing the smoke, the teen woke her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, and all got out safely before their home burned to the ground.

By the skin of their teeth

It seems the people in the home got out just in time. Fire Marshall Victor Woods told local television reporters:

“The daughter wanted to go back in and retrieve her car keys, and it was beyond that point. If another minute or two had gone by it could have been a very different outcome.”

Marina Deason, the girl’s mother, believes there was a divine hand programming the doll. “I think God works in mysterious ways, definitely fate had something to do with it,” she said.

The family is well and staying with relatives.


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