RINGWOOD - A 9-year-old boy is being called a hero after saving his family from a fire in Ringwood early Friday morning.
Vincent Rende says he's a light sleeper, and woke up just after 4:30 a.m. choking on the smoke that was already filling the bedroom he shares with his brother. He saw flames coming from the outlet by his brother Nick's bed.
Vincent yelled out to his brother and his sister, Jess. Nick ran to wake up their parents.
"I woke up, fell down the stairs in a daze, and got everybody out and that was it," says Vincent's father Frank Rende.
After several visits from firefighters at school and safety drills, Vincent says when he smelled the smoke he knew exactly what to do. "Thank goodness for school and teaching him," says his father.
Investigators say the fire started from smoldering embers in the fireplace that spread to the wall nearby. The smoke did not rise high enough to trigger the smoke detectors.
Besides being a hero, the family is now calling Vincent their "human smoke detector."
The family says they do not have insurance to cover the damage to the home, which was gutted by the flames. The Red Cross is helping them find temporary housing until their home can be repaired.