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MCFARLAND, Calif. — A young girl from California saved her family's life from a house fire early Sunday morning after she had a bad feeling that something would happen.
11-year-old Marie Elias is being hailed a hero for saving all 20 people sleeping in the three-bedroom house. She says she stayed awake because she loves her family so much and didn't want to see anything bad happen to her brothers and sisters.
"Because if something happened to my brothers," Elias told KGET 17 News as she fought back tears. "I would hold her tight, a little bit tight because I would not want to leave her down."
Elias says her premonition that something would happen started Saturday night.
"I couldn't go to sleep because I knew something was going to happen," Elias said.
At 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Elias' premonition came true as a fire broke out in the house. According to Kern County Fire department, it caused $85,000 in damage and eight adults and 12 children were displaced by the fire. The family is currently receiving assistance from the Red Cross.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire.
"Interviewing people on scene, they determined that they feel it was caused by electrical. And, the reason they came to that conclusion, they had one of the individuals in the house who was laying on one of the beds and looked over, noticed a popping and burning smell coming from one of the walls near the bed," said Corey Wilford from the Kern County Fire Department.
Investigators never found a smoke detector in the rubble. Because Elias was awake and alerted her family to the fire, no one was injured.
I couldn't go to sleep because I knew something was going to happen.
–11-year-old Marie Elias
"Our firefighters on scene never found a working smoke detector in the structure and the residents were actually lucky enough that somebody witnessed the fire," Wilford said. "We want to really stress to people that smoke detectors save lives."
Elias isn't the only one that has experienced a premonition that something bad was about to happen. In October 2010, an 80-year-old woman in Texas had a feeling to sleep at the foot of her bed. That night, a drunk driver rammed through her bedroom wall with his truck and her life was saved because she didn't sleep by the wall.
In Dec. 2011, Lauren Scruggs says she had a warning feeling before she went flying on the night she accidentally walked into a plane's propellers and lost her left eye and hand.
"I remember getting into the plane, and I was kind of fearful,'' Scruggs told TODAY. "I didn't know why. I just felt like something was going to happen."
Religious people have long said these premonitions are spiritual in nature and scientists are just starting to research the science behind the warning feelings people have about the future.
Wilford says they are not sure if the landlord will be fined for not having a working smoke detector. McFarland city officials are investigating whether there were too many people in the house according to state laws.
To help prevent deaths by fire in your home, Wilford says to have at least one working smoke detector in your home, test it once a month, and replace the batteries twice a year.