CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — What started as a normal afternoon for one teen turned into a life or death situation. He smelled smoke, realized there was a fire and jumped into action. This happened near the corner of 13th Street and Madison Avenue in Charleston.
And by the time firefighters arrived, the fire started to spread upstairs and burn through the roof.
Firefighters say it’s this type of quick thinking that can save people from being hurt.
“If this was the 4th of July, it’d be far better,” says Dominic Hughes. “But this obviously isn’t the fireworks you’d like to see.”
Hughes was playing video games with his friends. When he started to smell something burning in his home, he realized something wasn’t right. He went to look downstairs and saw his bathroom had caught fire.
He said his first instinct was to grab their dog and get her outside, then to help the rest of the family.
Hughes, his mom and one brother made it outside but his older brother was stuck upstairs.
Tyler Cody was across the street watching it happen.
“Kid said his brother was still in there and immediately jumped on the roof, so I figured I’d follow him because I wasn’t gonna just let him go alone,” Cody said.
Hughes punched a hole through a window to get back inside, then he, Cody and his brother got out through the front. Hughes has some cuts from breaking through the glass. He said while it was scary seeing his house catch on fire, he’s relieved to know he was the only one with any injuries.
“Financially it’s a rough thing, but at the end of the day we have our family and we’re all okay,” Hughes said. “What really matters is we’re still alive.”
Firefighters said the damage to the house is significant. They also say to make sure your smoke detectors are working and to frequently practice your exit strategy in case of a fire.