A massive fire ripped through a multi-family home in Hartford's North End early Wednesday morning, and a teenager is now being called a hero for saving her entire family from the inferno.
"I'll never forget this day," Antwana Tulley said.
Tulley was in bed around 3 a.m. when something woke her up.
"I see something yellow and I turned my head and I saw the fire," she said.
By the time she was up, flamed ignited throughout their first floor apartment. The 17-year-old rounded up her siblings, the youngest just a 1-year-old.
The fire blocked the front door, and with heat and thick, black smoke closing in, Tulley said she went with her instincts.
"I had to throw them out the window," she said. "That was the only way out. My brothers and sisters come first. They come first. If anything, let me get on fire before them."
Firefighters were on the other side to catch the children, and Tulley grabbed her mother and ran.
The residents on the second and third floors also escaped.
"It's crazy. I didn't expect my holiday to be like this," Tulley said.
Everything the family owns is now under a pile of ash. They can stay at a motel until Thursday, but after that, they don't know where they can go.
They also don't know where they will be on Christmas, but Tulley said one thing is for sure - they'll all be together.
"If I could have it my way, just for us to be together," she said. "They get what they want, just for us to stick together and be happy on Christmas."
The fire marshal said the cause of the fire appears to be because of a space heater too close to bedding.
The Hartford Fire Department is now working on a toy and gift drive for the family.
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