PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Seven adults and nine children were forced from their homes Thursday night after flames broke out inside a triple-decker in Providence’s West End.
Officials on scene said a 7-year-old boy accidentally set a couch on fire while playing with a candle when home alone.
The boy might not have made it out had it not been for two people who put their lives on the line to help him.
“My heart dropped because I knew the fire department wasn’t going to make it in time,” Isaiah Alicea said.
Alicea said as soon as he looked up and saw the boy waving and screaming from the top floor, he ran over, kicked down the back door and rushed inside.
“If I would have never made it upstairs, that kid would have ended up passing out because of how dense the smoke was,” he recalled. “You couldn’t see literally feet in front of you.”
“There was black stuff all over his mouth, his eyes, his nose,” Alicea added. “He was crying hysterically, I couldn’t make out any of his words, so I just decided to pick him up, bring him downstairs.”
The boy is expected to be OK and while Alicea had to spend several hours at the hospital being treated for smoke inhalation, he said he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
“Everyone is treating me as if I was a hero, but I don’t see it as that because that’s my natural instincts,” he said.
Police said they notified the R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) because state law doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 10 to be home alone.