A Chicago family says if it weren’t for the bravery of a 5-year-old boy, they might have all perished in a devastating house fire.
Jayden Espinosa is credited with saving more than 10 people — 13 to be exact — from a fire that broke out at a home in the city’s Back of the Yards neighborhood early Saturday morning, CBS Chicago reported.
Chicago Fire officials said the blaze started around 4 a.m. Nearly everyone in the house was asleep, except Jayden.
“I just walked in there and seen the flames in there in the kitchen,” he said. “It made my bones hurt.”
That’s when the 5-year-old sprang into action, climbing the stairs to the second floor to alert everyone that there was a fire. The kindergartner admits he was scared, but refused to let fear stop him.
“If he didn’t wake us up, in those two minutes, we would have been out of there,” displaced resident and Jayden’s aunt, Nicole Peeples, told NBC Chicago in an interview.
Peeples said she didn’t recall smelling smoke or hearing any fire alarms, so she’s grateful for her nephew’s quick action.
“He said ‘auntie, auntie, there’s a fire. We need to get out,’ ” she recalled, adding: “I’m so glad he was there.”
James Bennett, another relative who was inside when the fire began, said his family is now left picking up the pieces after losing everything in the blaze including clothing, family photos, birth certificates and other precious mementos. Fire department officials said the fire broke out in the rear of the home, near the garage, before flames spread to the porch and eventually tore through the entire residence.
Charred remains and broken glass are all that’s left.
All 13 occupants — seven adults and six children — made it to safety but are now searching for a new place to call home, according to CBS Chicago. The family’s pet turtle, Rambo, even survived the flames thanks to the quick-thinking kindergartner, who has dreams of becoming a firefighter one day.
“What he did was courageous. I would hope that anyone would do the same thing,” Jayden’s father, Kashmir Espinosa, said.
The child’s mother, Tracey Espinoza, was equally impressed, saying she didn’t expect her young son would be the one to save the day.
“I was really amazed,” she said, recalling the moment Jayden told her, “I saved everyone.”
The Chicago Fire Department said the blaze may have started with a smoking product, like a cigarette, but said an investigation into the fire is ongoing.
Watch more in the video below.