Hannibal family safe thanks to warning of 3-year-old boy.

A 3-year-old Hannibal boy is being credited with alerting his mother that their Ely Street home was on fire early Monday morning.

“My youngest boy came back and woke me up, seeing that there was a fire,” said Brandy Gauch of her son, Finnley.

Gauch awoke to a frightening scene.

“My living room was filled with flames and smoke, and when I opened the back door there was even more smoke,” she said. “I got my kids and got out. That's all I could do.”

Gauch safely escaped with Finnley and her 1-year-old daughter, Weslynn.

“It was scary not knowing what to do, but everybody is fine,” said Gauch.

While investigators from the Missouri State Fire Marshal's office and Hannibal Fire Department searched through the fire-darkened structure for clues to the cause of the fire, which according to Fire Chief Sean Hampton was called in at 4:43 a.m., Gauch said she had no clue how the blaze started.

“I haven't any idea,” she said. “My son said something about the stove was on fire. I didn't try to go and investigate, there was too much smoke.”

A total of 10 firefighters from all three fire stations responded, reported Hampton. With heavy fire in the front of the residence, firefighters entered through the rear of the structure. Hampton said the bulk of the flames were extinguished within a few minutes. No cause of the fire had been determined by early afternoon.

Gauch and her family had lived in the one-story house at 1134 Ely Street for approximately two years.

“We own it,” she said. “We don't have any insurance.”

As she looked at her home, which sustained heavy fire and smoke damage, Gauch took stock of her situation.

“It's a mess,” said the mother of three. “My mom took the kids while I figure out what to do. I have no idea what I'll do. They (firefighters) said they're going to have Red Cross call me. I guess I'll go from there.”


Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com