LA VERGNE, TN (WSMV/NBC) - A toy doll that was part of a project to give teens a realistic look at parenting woke up Christian Deason, 17, just as a fire was destroying the family home.
The doll was programmed to cry at different times of the day and night, just like a newborn baby.
Christian's teacher had programmed the doll Friday before school let out for the weekend.
She brought the doll home not knowing when it was programmed to cry.
At 3:30 a.m. Monday, the baby doll began to cry, waking Christian up just as the fire was eating its way through her La Vergne, TN house.
She immediately got everyone out of the house.
"It was a big white wall of smoke, I fanned it for a second, and I see flames. I ran straight to my mother's room got her out, got my dog out, put the toy baby in the carrier, and we were out," Christian said.
La Vergne Fire Marshall Victor Woods said the fire detectors in the house were not working and the family had only about a minute to get out of the house.
"The toy doll crying was really the key to getting them out safely," Woods said.
Marina Deason, Christian's mother, believes fate may have played a hand in the teacher setting the program for the doll to cry at 3:30 a.m.
"I think God works in mysterious ways, definitely fate had something to do with it," Marina said.
"I was suppose to get this baby, I was suppose to take it home, everything was suppose to happen the way it happened," Christian said.