Quick-thinking 5-Year-Old Helps Save 13 People from Fire in Chicago

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
July 28, 2019 Updated: July 28, 2019

Six children and seven adults are alive after a quick-thinking 5-year-old boy raised the alarm on a Chicago house fire.

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.”

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.

Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'