HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last Veteran's Day, six-year-old Althea Cunningham woke up to loud crackling and popping noises. She woke up her mom but was assured that nothing was wrong.
The sounds continued, so Althea went to the front door.
"She felt heat," says Althea's father, Allen Cunningham. "She still heard the cracklings louder, and she did something she's not supposed to do. She opened that door. She unlocked it and opened it."
Althea saw flames coming from the upstairs unit and quickly alerted her mother.
"She told her mom, 'Mom, Mom, there's a fire, there's a fire,'" recalls Allen.
Mom grabbed Althea and her baby sister. Together they woke up their neighbors to make sure everyone got out safe.
Eight people live in that apartment complex. All consider her a hero.
It's all because Althea disobeyed one of her parents' biggest rules.
"I said, 'Thea, why did you open the front door,'" says Allen, who admits he was pretending to be upset. "She said, 'God told me to, Dad.'"
Because of her quick thinking, Althea Cunningham is the Red Cross Youth Hero of the Year.