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'He Saved Them': 18-Year-Old Family Member Rushes Into Home During Fire To Save Toddlers

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An 18-year-old family member is being heralded a hero after he rushed into a burning home Monday to rescue two toddlers.

"My little brother saved them," said Vetner Henry, the uncle of the children, told CBS4's Peter D'Oench. "He saved them and for that I am grateful. I am grateful that they are alive."

Without hesitation, James Henry ran into his family's burning home to pull everyone out safe.

The teen had to be treated and was eventually placed on a gurney to head to the hospital.

He returned from the hospital to the burned out home.

"Actually, I was sitting in the car when the house went up in flames. Mom came outside yelling 'fire, fire, fire.' I seen smoke come out of my sisters room, automatically I rushed in that room to save them," he said.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Kirsten Miller said firefighters responded to the blaze at the home just before 3 p.m. in the 1600 block of NW 123rd St. in North Miami.

Miller said the cause of the blaze is not known.

But Vetner Henry said he thinks it was sparked by a problem with an air conditioning unit.

"They told me there was an explosion in the air conditioning unit," said Vetner Henry. "And the fire has gone through the whole house. Everything is gone except my mother's room."

North Miami House Fire Air Rescue
Hospital staff wheeling in the pediatric patient of the North Miami house fire. (CBS4)

Vetner Henry said his parents, who are the children's grandparents, were inside the home and also went to a hospital as well to be checked for smoke inhalation.

"My father he called 911 and he tried to put the fire out but he couldn't do that because it was all over the house," said Vetner Henry.

As for the children, 4-year-old Josiah was quickly evacuated by air to Jackson Memorial Hospital and his little sister Madison was taken to a local hospital.

"Serious injuries… but so far they are saying (Josiah) should pull through so it's a good thing," said Vetner Henry.

Cmdr. Kessler Brooks of the North Miami Police Department said that James Henry "absolutely did save some lives through his quick actions and I think that other people when facing the same sort of situation should do the same."

"One of the unique things about this story is that there was a relative on the telephone outside the home and when he heard some sort of boom, he responded and was able to help the grandparents in the home and the two young siblings," Brooks said.

Lt. Miller also commended the actions of James Henry.

A GoFundMe page has been started to help the family with expenses.

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