KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – One local youth in Kinston was honored in a ceremony Wednesday for her lifesaving actions when faced with a deadly fire.

Zsakiyah Sutton’s courage is why the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal, Mike Causey, recognized her with a special commissioner’s award for heroism. Causey said Sutton deserved the award for the bravery she showed in the face of danger, also saying her actions saved the life of her infant brother.

“Just going above and beyond to save a life,” said Causey.

In November 2021, 10-year-old Sutton woke to flames in her home. She located her infant brother, Jamir, and was able to get him out of the house. She returned to the fires multiple times looking for her eight-year-old brother, who was unable to be found and passed in the fire.

Zsakiyah Sutton with her grandmother (Sarah Gray Barr, WNCT photo)

Now an 11-year-old, Sutton received the award at Rochelle Middle School surrounded by family, teachers and Kinston and state officials.

School officials say they love Sutton, her spirit and her leadership.

“It was selfless, I mean, she didn’t even think about her own safety, she knew that she had a mission to do, she had siblings in the house, and she didn’t think about herself. So, courage, bravery, all of those adjectives describe her to a tee,” said Principal Terry Wooten.

And for Sutton?

“It means a lot. It means a lot to me because … it means a lot to me because I did something good,” she said.

When thinking of her eight-year-old brother, she said he would be proud of her.

The family is still rebuilding their lives and is accepting donations. Those interested in donating can find the link to the Sutton Family’s GoFundMe here.