Staff writers

HAYWARD -- Galaxy Kung was asleep Thursday morning when her uncle told her there was a fire in her Hayward home.

But the "little girl with a big name," as her dad said, sprang into action and put a wet towel over her nose and mouth to get through the smoky house and wake her sleeping father. "We are very lucky. There was a lot of smoke," Ben Kung said.

No one was injured in the fire in the two-story home in the 2000 block of Park Arroyo Place at 7 a.m. Thursday, Hayward fire spokesman Capt. Don Nichelson said. Fire crews credit the brave girl.

"My uncle told me there was a fire, so the first thing I did was go to the bathroom and wet a towel," said the girl, who is 9 and will enter the fifth grade at Stonebrae Elementary School in Hayward later this month. "I went to my dad and said, 'Wake up, there's a fire,'" she said.

Galaxy said she was the only one to take the safety precaution with the wet towel. "(The others) forgot," she said.

Ben Kung said he's proud of his daughter -- who is named for the sold-out Galaxy microwave that his wife tried to buy while she was pregnant -- for not overreacting.

"She was very calm, especially seeing a big fire like that," Kung said. "She gave me advice. I hope she can be like this all in her lifetime. When something happens, just try to calm down and (it) will get better."


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A smoke alarm sounded at 7 a.m. but Kung said he continued to sleep, thinking the noise was his alarm clock.

With the girl and her father at a second-story window, a nearby construction crew placed a ladder up to the house and assisted them as they climbed down to safety. Three others in the home escaped through the front door.

Firefighters had the blaze under control within 20 minutes, Nichelson said.

Fire officials believe the blaze started in the kitchen, but the cause remains under investigation. Kung said he thought the fire may have started in a rice cooker in the kitchen and spread quickly. A damage estimate was not immediately available Thursday.

Follow David DeBolt at Twitter.com/daviddebolt. Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.