Jordan Fancey woke around 6:45 a.m. on Tuesday to the sound of screaming. Initially, she thought it was teenagers on her east Hamilton street carrying on.
But as she listened closely, a more horrifying reality set in: The cries were those of her neighbours, a couple with five children under the age of five.
'I came out and there was smoke barreling right across the roof.'—Jordan Fancey, neighbour
She sprinted out the front door to check out the commotion. The house next door, on Province St. N near Cannon St. E, was on fire. The family was outside, surrounded by billowing smoke.
“I came out and there was smoke barreling right across the roof. And I saw the mom screaming for her cat,” said Fancey.
The 18-year-old grabbed the youngest two children, and cajoled the others to run into her family's home.
“There were out here, in front of my house and on my porch, and I rushed them into my house right away.”
Paramedics reached the scene, assessing the injured while firefighters put out the flames, she said.
The cat, she added ruefully, could not be saved.
Two adults — the two parents, according to Fancey — and one of the children were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, Hamilton Emergency Services confirmed. An officer on scene said they are expected to make a full recovery.
Fancey said crews thanked her for her actions, telling her that the outcome might have been worse had she not intervened.
“I am so thankful that I woke up," said the teen. "Because if I didn't wake up and, the kids, each and every single one of them, might be in the hospital.”
The cause of the fire, which was extinguished before 9 a.m., is still under investigation, according to Dave Christopher, a spokesperson for the Hamilton Fire Department.
Obviously exhausted by the morning's events, Fancey said she's taking the day off school to help babysit the children who weren't taken to hospital.
"Right now, we're watching the kids and keeping and eye on them, because that's what they need right now."