A young man became a local hero after he saved the lives of five others in a recent house fire.
Jaden Chapman, 14, was asleep in the early morning of Sunday, June 14 in a friend’s house on Sachem Road at Sts’ailes. He woke to the sound of pictures falling off the wall.
“I went to go look, and the fire popped right up,” he explains. “Everyone else was sleeping and didn’t hear it.”
Chapman immediately jumped into action. He quickly woke up his friends who were downstairs with him then called to the mother and child asleep upstairs. The fire, which had started in the kitchen, had already filled the stairs. Chapman and the others coached the child upstairs to jump out of the second floor window while the mom dashed downstairs through the flames to get outside.
When fire crews arrived, all the house’s occupants were out and accounted for on the lawn. Fire crews worked to stop the blaze before it burnt the downstairs to the ground, explains Sts’ailes Fire Chief Tim Felix.
“It took us six minutes to get there. In that six minutes from the call, the whole house was engulfed,” explains Felix.
The fire chief speaks highly of Chapman for his actions that day.
“He’s a brave young man. A lot of kids would have buckled under pressure and run out of the house in fear. He had it in his mind and heart to save them,” says Felix. “He has a lot of courage.”
Chapman’s teachers at Sts’ailes Community School agree with Felix. In a traditional ceremony on the final day of the school year, Chapman was recognized for his bravery.
“He did something extraordinary, which in our minds and I’m sure in yours, makes him a hero,” said Principal Bill Dietrich. “Thank you for being an extraordinary person.”
His teachers gifted Chapman, who lost most of what he has in the fire, a new longboard and speaker. Chapman, who stood serious and humble during the entire ceremony, grinned when some young children also gave him a bag of chips and sports drink, because after all the hard work of saving everyone, he would be thirsty and hungry.
Chapman’s family is proud of him too. His mother, grandmother and great grandmother attended the presentation June 24.
“He’s our hero,” Joan Chapman, his great grandmother, states simply.
Chapman says after the fire, he was in a state of shock and felt depressed. When asked if there are ways the larger community can help him, Chapman said he was OK. The Sts’ailes community has banded together to help Chapman and the displaced family. The little money he had to his name, Chapman actually donated to the family he was staying with, to help them get back on their feet.
The fire started in the kitchen after the adult in the house was cooking and accidentally fell asleep.
The child who jumped out the second floor window was miraculously unscathed, but the mom came away with burns on her feet, arms and neck. She was transported to Chilliwack Hospital for treatment. She is now out of the hospital and on the road to recovery, reports Felix.