Nick Lamb had his cochlear implants switched off while he slept.
He didn't wake up to blaring smoke alarms.
He couldn't hear the flames roaring from the family's garage, the loud popping and hissing noises that come with the combustion of pressure-treated lumber.
Lamb, unconscious and unaware his home was filling with smoke, was asleep alone in the house while his mother worked.
There was no one else home to call the fire department, no one else home to wake him. No one but Ace, that is.
The family's two-year-old pit bull found his way through the smoke to the sleeping boy and climbed on top of him, licking his face until he awoke.
Lamb had learned about fire in school; he knew to cover his face with his shirt, he knew to get low and to test door knobs, to crawl away from the heat, to find the nearest exit.
He found his way downstairs through the smoke and out the back door, before calling his mother and 911.
Lamb's mother, Lindsey Bernard, rushed home.
"I went into a little bit of a panic," she told the Indy Star. "When I got here ... the streets were covered. It was mainly just panic and chaos."
But both Lamb and Ace made it out safe and sound, along with Pixie, the family's cat, who will be spending a night at the vet after inhaling smoke but is otherwise okay.
"He's just like one of the family members basically," Lamb's stepfather, James Bernard, said of Ace to KFOR.
"He had to get up on him in his face and stuff ... he's a hero," Lindsay said.
The homeowners believe the fire originated in the garage and was most likely electrical, though the Indianapolis Fire Department is still investigating the source of the blaze which caused an estimated at $175,000 in damage.
In a news release about the fire, IFD Capt. Rita Reith shared how Lamb told firefighters "he had just returned from summer camp on Sunday," and "this was the first summer he was old enough to stay home alone and was excited to have reached that milestone."
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