Stephen Lahay rushed across the road to put out a fire in this house. Outside, there's only a little damage above the door, but there's more damage inside.
Smoke was wafting from the open front doorway and the men could see the bright pink reflection of the flames inside. They ran over to investigate and realized the kitchen at 470 Fleming Rd. was ablaze.
A boy in his mid-teens was standing in the home, apparently stunned. He yelled at three tenants downstairs to get out, but seemed unable to make an exit himself.
"We got him out of the house. We told him to get out and get away from the building," Lahay said Tuesday.
Lahay, 58, then dashed across the road and fetched a fire extinguisher from his house. He ran back with it and got down on his hands and knees. The smoke layer was just over a metre above the floor.
"At that point the fire was on the counter and started to climb up the wall. So I basically just crawled . . . into the kitchen area and put it out with the fire extinguisher," he said.
Lahay emptied the dry-chemical contents of the tank just as the fire engines arrived. He saw the boy, named Cody, sitting outside with his small dog. Paramedics took him to the ambulance and drove him to hospital, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.
Lahay and his son-in-law, Kevin Gowland, walked back home. Lahay was humble about smothering the fire himself.
"It was just a matter of reacting to the situation," he said. "You get to find out (about yourself) in a crisis."
Cody, who was released from hospital later Monday night, lives with his parents and brother, but was alone when the fire broke out just before 6 p.m. A fire
investigator concluded the cause was electrical and absolved him of any blame.
Fire officials are crediting Cody's family for having a smoke detector that transmitted the alarm to a monitoring company. The company alerted the fire department, giving firefighters a head start.
Lahay's actions were "commendable," said Platoon Capt. Dennis Miller.
"He was there before us . . . It's (OK) to fight a fire with a fire extinguisher as long as it's reasonably safe."
Firefighters had to cut into the wall to make sure the fire didn't extend into the interior. The estimated damage will need $10,000 to $20,000 worth of repairs, Miller said. He believes the family is insured. They'll be out for at least a few days.
Lahay, meanwhile, is philosophical about the adventure.
"We hope if that ever happened to us, someone would do the same," he said.