Jennifer Swartz says her kids are smart and brave.
Swartz slipped out her Lawson Heights home over the noon hour to pick up some family pictures. While she was out, her daughter Kendra and her two cousins smelled smoke coming from the master bedroom, and then saw flames.
They called 9-1-1, then got out of the house.
"The kids are so smart to have called 9-1-1," Swartz said.
She arrived home to find fire trucks and police cars blocking the street in front of her Coppermine Road two storey. She broke down getting out of her SUV and was comforted by neighbours.
The kids, meanwhile, grouped at the front of the house as firefighters emerged with a succession of pet cages. Two hamsters and three guinea pigs are all accounted for, but Koko the cat was still hiding somewhere in the house.
Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire in minutes and contain it to the master bedroom.
The cause was later reported as stemming from an unattended heat gun used for crafts. Damages are estimated at $10,000.