An eight-year-old boy is being hailed a hero for alerting residents to a fire early Wednesday morning at an apartment complex in Lawrence County.
Five people, including three children, were trapped in the blaze that broke out just after 2 a.m. at the Oak Grove Apartments on Oak Street in Lawrenceburg, about 90 minutes south of Nashville.
Two of the three children rescued from the burning building were dropped to police officers from a second story balcony. The dramatic rescue was captured on a camera mounted to firefighter Jon Brewer's helmet.
"All I could see in the smoke were three kids who were screaming and it was screams of terror. It was something you never forget," he said. "Right then the thought crossed my mind that we could lose these kids."
Hero Jonathan Bent added, "Two of my sisters went off the balcony because they picked them up and held them on the edge and then dropped them. Then the policeman [caught] them," hero Jonathan Bent told News 2.
Firefighters rescued two adults using a ladder.
Neighbors also removed an elderly woman from a downstairs apartment unit where the fire is believed to have sparked.
The woman, who Bent was staying with at her lower-level apartment, was taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation.
Another person was treated for smoke inhalation on the scene. No other injuries were reported.
"This little boy did a terrific job for his age in notifying people, and thanks be to him that he got all the people up or we would have had more rescue to do than what we had, and we could have had fatalities," Chief Jay Moore said.
In addition to Bent's quick thinking, Brewer, who is getting married Saturday, said he also credits his fellow firefighters who responded to the scene.
"If it hadn't been for the seven men working that day, none of this would have happened," he said. "There is no individual hero at all. Congrats to all the guys working. All seven are heroes."
Survivor Sean Johnson added he is grateful for Bent quickly alerting neighbors of the fire.
"He comes and starts knocking on neighbors doors. He was running everywhere. Knocking on this door, knocking on that door saying, ‘Help! Help! Fire! Fire!'" Johnson said.
Fire officials said they have a total of four helmet cameras and that they will review the video from Wednesday morning's dramatic rescue to evaluate how the firefighters responded and for training purposes.
Fire officials say a lit cigarette caused the fire. The elderly woman told investigators she fell asleep while smoking. No charges have been filed.
The American Red Cross is assisting the seven families affected by the fire.