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Young hero saves family from house fire, recognized by Tampa leaders with award

The 7-year-old woke up in the middle of the night and ended up saving his whole family from a house fire.

TAMPA, Fla. — A 7-year-old boy from Tampa was recognized for his heroic actions in the early morning hours of Jan. 30 when his family's house caught on fire.

Tampa Fire Rescue Fire Chief Barbara Tripp and Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis made sure to acknowledge what Jonathan Sanchez did to save his family Friday with the fire chief's commendation medal.

It all started a little after midnight on Jan. 30 when Sanchez woke up to the sounds of his young twin brothers coughing in their room. The 7-year-old got out of bed with concerns for his brothers and immediately knew something was wrong, a news release from Tampa Fire Rescue explains. 

Sanchez could see and smell smoke, with a large amount filling the house as he peered into the living room. He was able to realize how serious the situation was and jumped into action — running to wake up his parents.

It was when his parents were both awake that the smoke detectors started to sound, the fire department says. The 7-year-old was able to get his whole family out of the house safely.

Sanchez's father called 911 to report the fire. He also tried to go back inside and grab a few important items, but the fire and smoke were too big.

Fire rescue crews say because of the combination of the fire starting in a crawl space beneath the fireplace and high winds, the fire was able to intensify while also delaying the response of the smoke detectors.

It was only until the fire was large enough to reach the walls and floor did the house start to fill with smoke, the fire department explains.

"The Sanchez family was able to just get to safety in time," Chief Barbara Tripp said in a statement. "If not for Jonathan hearing his brothers coughing and not hesitating to act, this night could have turned out much differently. We commend Jonathan for his courageous action in the face of danger."

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