CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A 10-year-old boy saved the life of his mother and sister when their Cape Girardeau apartment caught fire.
While they work to rebuild what was lost, his mother said she thanks God her son got them out alive.
This Everyday Hero embodies what it means to be brave.
"It reminds me of a scary movie."
Boarded up doors.
"Because all scary movies...that's what houses end up looking like."
This burnt shell of a home on North Franklin Street may seem like the perfect setting for a scary movie.
But it's a stark reality for this family.
"When I seen how it got dark I got scared and got my mom," said Cornellous Smith.
A quick decision that proved to also be a very brave one.
On May 7, 2016, 10-year-old Cornellous Smith woke up to the smell of smoke.
So he walked in the other room to tell his mom.
"And then that's when she said there's a fire and that's when we got out of the house," Cornellous recalled.
Chased out by the smoke, the family stood across the street and watched in horror as all their belongings became casualties of the flames.
"It's so overemotional," explained Cornellous' mom Misty Robinson. "It's such a feeling that I really can't even explain it to you. It's like losing a family member watching everything you have go to waste, burn up and there's nothing you can do about it."
Nothing, but be grateful they made it out alive.
"He really saved our life," Misty said. "I don't know if he can even comprehend what he has done."
A seriousness that doesn't seem to be lost on young Cornellous as he tries to grapple with the terrifying alternate ending to this story.
"To act happy for saving someone's life is kinda hard to do," said Cornellous. "Because you know you saved their life but you're also kinda scared. Because if I hadn't told my mom about it I would have literally caused my family's life and my life because of being scared."
But he did save them.
And for that, he's a hero.
"I just thank God that my son was awake in that house," Misty said.