NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn family says their 11-year-old son’s quick thinking saved them from a fast-moving fire overnight.
“I said, ‘Mom, there’s a fire outside.’ I screamed so loud,” 11-year-old Junior Rittenhouse said.READ MORE: NYC Teacher, Principal Unions Warn Of School Staffing Shortages When Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect; De Blasio Says Substitutes Standing By
Junior was understandably exhausted Wednesday after the crazy night he had.
He was playing in his upstairs bedroom Tuesday when he felt his air conditioner blowing hot air and lifted his curtains to reveal a frightening sight.
“You see the house right there? Right next to it on his deck right there is where I saw a bunch of fire,” Junior said.
Junior sprinted downstairs, alerted his parents, who quickly rounded up his younger brothers and sister before running out of the house on Dictum Court in Gerritsen Beach.
“When we walked down these stairs, it was like the flares were hitting us. It was hot. We went there, and then we thought it was going to kaboom, so we went deeper,” mother Patrisha Rittenhouse said.
Neighbors say it was a utility box on a now-charred wooden pole that started the fire.
The flames not only torched the Rittenhouses’ home, but also the house behind theirs.
Junior’s parents, tired and dejected, watched Wednesday as the blown-out windows of their beloved home were boarded up.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Says He Will Visit Rikers Island Next Week Amid Growing Pressure
But inside, there was a swell of pride.
“Still can’t believe it’s what happened, but he was definitely, couldn’t have asked for more for him,” father Keith Rittenhouse said.
“So I’m very proud. I’m very happy he’s alert. I’m sorry he has to go through this. He’s the oldest. He understands more. He’s crying,” Patrisha Rittenhouse said.
Junior says he just followed his instinct and what he learned in school.
“If you see a fire, tell, like, any adults or somebody that’s older than you around and they’ll see if they can help you,” Junior said.
In his case, it was Junior who helped everyone else escape.
It took more than 100 firefighters about two hours to get it under control.
Two firefighters were hurt during the blaze. They were said to have minor injuries.MORE NEWS: Caught On Video: 76-Year-Old Put In Chokehold, Robbed In Lobby Of Harlem Building
CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report.