Teen saves three chil­dren from fire

Driven by a mem­ory

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By CHLOE WIN­TER

As a 15-year-old Porirua boy ran to­wards a burning house in Can­nons Creek, all he could think about was his lit­tle sis­ter, who died in a house fire seven years ago.

When he got to the two-storey house in Durham St, Kioa LatuFu­tialo saw a man hang­ing out of a top-floor win­dow, ready to drop his chil­dren on to bags of leaves at the bot­tom.

In­stead, Kioa ran over, caught each of the three chil­dren one by one, be­fore get­ting help to catch the older man, who was about to jump to save him­self.

The fire, on the night of Mon­day, June 8, brought back mem­o­ries for Kioa of his sis­ter, who died in their fam­ily home while he was at school.

Kioa’s mother, Christina LatuFa­ga­soaia, be­lieved he ran to help the three chil­dren in Durham St be­cause he knew he could make a dif­fer­ence and save them. She hailed her son as a hero.

‘‘Kioa was in his room, then next thing I know he is call­ing me from out­side. I tried to stop him from run­ning to­wards the house, but he wouldn’t stop,’’ she said.

‘‘I fol­lowed him and could see a man hang­ing out the win­dow about to drop some kids. Kioa caught the first kid, then the sec- ond, and the third be­fore an­other man came from across the road to help catch the old man.’’

The top floor was en­gulfed in flames, but that did not mat­ter to Kioa, she said.

‘‘He is very brave. For my­self, I was dead frozen, but he wasn’t. He is a hero . . .[but] then it could have been any­one else too, had they been on the scene be­fore us.’’

She and Kioa waited with the res­cued fam­ily un­til the am­bu­lance and fire ser­vices ar­rived. ‘‘We were just glad no-one was hurt in the fire.’’

That is some­thing she can’t say about the fire at her home in 2008. ‘‘I got three of my chil­dren out, but I couldn’t get the fourth . . . I still live with that ev­ery day of my life.

‘‘I think he [Kioa] did what he did be­cause that’s what he would have done if he was home on the day of our house fire.’’

Latu-Fa­ga­soaia said they had not heard from the fam­ily af­ter they left the scene late on Mon­day night. The cause was un­known.

Photo: ASHTEN MacDON­ALD

Porirua teen Kioa Latu-Fu­tialo stands in front of the win­dows he caught chil­dren from when the house was ablaze.

– Christina Latu-Fa­ga­soaia

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