HOUSTON Jameel Gray, whom his parents remain firmly convinced is a 4-year-old hero, has a temporary roof over his head. But the family is still trying to piece their lives back together after a devastating apartment fire.

If it wasn t for him we would have been dead, Rolanda Gray told us Friday outside her burned out apartment near S. Dairy Ashford and Bissonet.

Gray s 4-year-old son was awake early Friday morning waiting for his dad to come home from work. He saw the fire start near the oven in the kitchen and raced down the hall to wake up his mom. Because he woke up his mom when the loud alert of the smoke detectors did not, Rolanda Gray and her 17-year-old daughter escaped with Jameel before the fire destroyed the contents of their apartment.

I just look at life totally different now. I don t take nothing for granted, Gray said when we checked on the family on Monday.

Friends have taken the family in giving them a temporary place to stay. A few TV viewers have offered clothing. The wife of a Houston Fire Department captain was promising a delivery of clothing and toys by Monday afternoon. And Omar Gray, Jameel s dad, said his employer was making plans to get donations to the family as well.

I got more help so far than I expected from people not knowing you and things like that, Omar Gray said.

It s a start for which the Gray family is thankful. But as they continue to look for a new apartment to rent they know they will need so much more.

Right now we ll take whatever. It doesn t even matter because we lost everything, said Rolanda Gray.

But she says she knows that with time, and the help of others, they will eventually get their lives back on track.

Our lives, she said when she asked what she s thankful for this Christmas. That s all I m thankful that (we re) here.

If you would like to help the family you can contact their family friend Bianca at (832) 258-1393.

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