Nicholas DeShane, front centre, was honoured by the Toronto Fire Fighters' Association on Jan. 12. He was credited for helping his family escape from a fire in their home. The other children received toys, and the parents were given financial aid to help cover losses from the fire. The siblings are Anthony, 9, Vincent, 6, Angelia, 4, and Chelsea, 3 with their parents, Tom and Cheryl DeShane. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - When 12-year-old Nicholas DeShanes saw smoke pouring out of the living room vents of his family’s north Toronto home, his reaction was automatic.
Get everyone out of the house.
Fire broke out in the basement of the Jane St. and Steeles Ave. W. townhouse that DeShanes shares with his parents and four younger siblings on Dec. 18.
One of Nicholas’ younger brothers had been playing in the basement, found his mother’s cigarette lighter and set flame to a colouring book, which quickly ignited a sofa.
DeShanes, upon seeing the smoke rising into the living room, ran to get his father, Tom. Both went down to the basement, saw through the smoke and flames coming from the couch and acted. DeShanes grabbed his brother, six-year-old Vincent, while his father picked up Angelina, 4, and Chelsea, 3.
Anthony, 7, was already outside; DeShanes’ mom was at work.