HECLA, S.D. — The family of a World War II veteran has called an 8-year-old girl a “hero” after she helped the veteran safely escape a house fire in northern South Dakota.

Adi Lloyd was driving with her grandparents in Hecla on New Year’s Day when she saw a plume of smoke rising from the home of 92-year-old Dale Shelton, who was asleep inside. Adi alerted her grandparents, Bob and Gayle Lloyd, and insisted that they check on the homeowner.

Shelton was exiting the burning house when they arrived, the Aberdeen American News reported. He was covered in ashes, dazed and without a coat.

“I kind of felt worried because he had a bunch of black stuff in his hair,” said Adi.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Gayle Lloyd said. “We jumped out, got him out of house and into the pickup.”

The trio helped Shelton into their car, where they bundled him in blankets and waited for an ambulance to arrive. Shelton was treated in an ambulance on scene, but wasn’t taken to a hospital.

“Within 10 minutes, Adi was asking to check on him,” Gayle Lloyd said. “And they let her up there (in the ambulance) to do that.”

Shelton’s daughter, Valerie Youngman, said Shelton is recovering in a furnished apartment with enough clothes to last years, thanks to those in Hecla and the surrounding area who helped.

Youngman told Adi that she was their “little hero.” ”Our family would like to say a very special thank you to Adi and her grandparents for being there that day,” said Youngman.

Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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