Residents cited by the Associated Press said Jayden Espinosa awoke to smoke and flames just before 4 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, and warned others of impending danger.
“I smelled the smoke and I got up and went outside,” Jayden told Fox 32, adding that he knew what to do “because I’m smart and brilliant.”
The little boy then reportedly ran and told everyone to get out of the burning house.
Nicole Peeples was cited by the Associated Press as saying that without the boy’s warning, “I don’t think we would have survived.”
Peeples says she smelled no smoke and “the fire alarms never went off. I’m so glad he was there.”
FIRE HERO: Jayden Espinosa, 5, was the first person in his building to notice the smoke in his burning building this morning. Firefighters credit him with saving the lives of 13 people. Read more: https://t.co/WfFTW8l8mE via @Dakarai_Turner pic.twitter.com/kCtiQ0Bmgs
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) July 28, 2019
The 5-year-old had been staying at his aunt’s home with his two sisters, according to fire officials and the boy’s mother.
“We lost everything inside. We lost baby clothes, pictures, IDs, social security cards, birth certificates. We lost everything,” James Bennett said, according to CBS. The news outlet reported that in addition to 13 people who escaped the flames, a pet turtle also survived.
The seven adults and six children have been left homeless after the duplex was destroyed in the flames.
No injuries were reported.
Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.