Little DJ will always been remembered in the Johnson family as the angel who saved their lives.
The toddler alerted his mom and baby sister to a house fire – but died after running back through the flames to hide in his bedroom.
His mother Whitney Johnson, 26, from Kentucky, had fallen asleep on the sofa.
Tragedy struck when her heater exploded and sparked an inferno. Her two-year-old son DJ and five-week-old Nyla were inside the home.
The smoke detector in their apartment failed.
It was only when DJ woke up and shouted for his mommy that Whitney stirred to find her living room burning.
The HR worker grabbed her son’s hand and scooped up baby Nyla.
She bravely ran through roaring flames to the front door in a bid to escape.
But as she turned the key in the lock she was forced to let go of DJ for a split second.
The frightened toddler raced back to his bedroom to hide.
Whitney – unable to find her terrified tot in the smoke and fire – was forced to make the decision to leave him behind and save Nyla, whose scalp was melting.
After handing her daughter to a neighbor she fearlessly went back into her burning home for DJ .
But sadly she could not find him. DJ he died from smoke inhalation after climbing into his bed.
Despite being in shock, Whitney managed to sound the alarm in her apartment block.
Her actions allowed 30 other residents to evacuate safely.
Recalling the event, which happened in 2015, the grieving mom said: ‘DJ is my hero. If it wasn’t for him yelling for me, we definitely would not be here.’
‘When I woke up, all I remember is flames everywhere and pitch black smoke. It was like something out of the movies.’
‘We all got up and headed towards the front door to get out.’
‘We ran through fire and I guess that scared DJ. I remember looking back and thinking, ‘This is it, we are all going to die.’
‘I had my newborn in one arm and I tried to open the front door and had to let go of my son’s arm to do that.’
‘He ran directly to his room and shut his door. He was coughing and yelling for me and I was trying to look for him but couldn’t see him through the black smoke and flames.’
‘I tried to get myself to him but I couldn’t find him and I tried to open the door but at first I couldn’t.’