He Woke Up Early at a Sleepover. Then He Smelled Smoke

Quick-thinking Jayden Espinosa, 5, saves 13 people from apartment fire
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2019 9:35 AM CDT
5-Year-Old at Sleepover Saves Dozen People From Fire
Jayden Espinosa, young hero.   (YouTube)

A 5-year-old at a Chicago sleepover is now being hailed as a hero for saving 12 people and himself from an early-morning fire. WPVI reports Jayden Espinosa was sleeping over at his aunt's apartment last weekend, and he woke up Saturday morning while everyone else was still snoozing. Jayden turned the TV on to keep himself occupied, but before long, the alert little boy smelled smoke and saw fire "coming from the ceiling." That's when he sprung into action, running through the apartment to alert the rest of his family. "He woke me up and said, 'Uncle James, the house is on fire, the house is on fire,'" James Bennett tells WLTX. "'Get up, get up, get up.'"

"I was scared," Jayden tells the news outlet, although not only did he save his own family—he also alerted his aunt's neighbors, who live on the lower floor of the duplex. Firefighters say there were seven adults and six children, including Jayden, who got out safely. Fox 32 News reports that, when asked how he knew what to do during such an emergency, Jayden replied, "Because I'm smart and brilliant." It's still not clear what started the fire, which destroyed all the family had. "We lost baby clothes, pictures, IDs, Social Security cards, birth certificates. We lost everything," Bennett tells WLTX. A GoFundMe for the family has been set up to help them out. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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