Boy, 12, Dies After Running Back Into Burning House to Save His Brothers Not Knowing They Were Safe
Adrian Cross ran into the home to help his siblings, who had already escaped the fire
Though he was just 12 years old, Adrian Cross displayed courage far beyond his years as a fire engulfed his home on Monday night.
As the flames spread throughout his family’s two-story residence in Milwaukee, young Adrian tried to save his siblings, but became trapped on the second floor, his grandmother, June Cross, told FOX 6.
“He went in to get his brothers,” she told the news station. “That’s what he was trying to do.”
But in the chaos of the emergency, Adrian was unaware that his 10 family members had already escaped the burning home and reached safety.
“All of a sudden, [the family] started screaming,” Cross said of the realization Adrian was still inside.
The Milwaukee Fire Department did their best to reach the boy in time and encountered intense flames as they attempted to reach the second floor.
“They were encountering extreme heat at the top of those stairs,” Milwaukee Fire Department Deputy Chief Aaron Lipski told CBS 58. “They pushed forward anyway, they were able to locate one victim.”
Tragically, Adrian was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cross and the Milwaukee Fire Department did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
On Tuesday, the grieving grandmother took to Facebook to leave an emotional tribute to her grandson.
“Last night we lost a Lil brave [boy], our grandson Lil Adrian,” Cross posted with a picture of Adrian in a yellow football helmet. “He [tried] to save his Lil brother’s in [a] fire that took his life, it’s hurting the family right now… and we know the LORD has Him. We love you sweetheart.”
Cross continued to mourn for Adrian in a later update.
“I would like to Thank the Lord for Blessing us with our grandson Lil Adrian,” she said in another Facebook post. “Our loss is knowing He [is] in your hands…. [We] will truly me miss Lil Adrian God has plans for you.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, fires can destroy a home in as little as five minutes. If a fire breaks out in your home, the department advises crawling under the smoke to find an exit. If you open a door, open it slowly and be ready to close it if smoke is on the other side.
But safety precautions should be in place long before a fire ever erupts, the department says, and they recommend families make sure to have fire escape plans in place and ensure smoke alarms are in working condition.
Despite the tragedy, Cross said the family is relying on their faith to help them carry on.
“Through God, because that is the only strength we’ve got,” she told NBC 13. “I know God has better plans for all of us.”