Six-year-old Arshaan Grewal was riding his bike home when he noticed something very wrong: a fire that ended up destroying three houses Monday in northeast Calgary’s Taradale neighbourhood.
“I saw a giant fire,” Grewal said. The boy then sprang into action to save several relatives inside the family home.
“I told my grandpa and then we went to warn my mom and my grandma and my little baby brother.”
At least two family members were sleeping in the basement when flames broke out.
“They called the entire family to come out,” Arshaan’s cousin, Jashan Dhaliwal, said. “Right when they reached the sidewalk, the entire house was bursting into flames.”
“Everyone (was) scared,” said Ananteep Grewal, Arshaan’s uncle. “My wife and my kid (were in) the basement. They ran outside.”
Investigators with the Calgary Fire Department are still trying to determine what caused the fire, which started in one house and spread to two others.
“We have seen quite a few fires associated with the improper disposal of smoking materials,” CFD public information officer Carol Henke said. “Especially during our heat wave, it is really important for people to properly put their cigarette butts in a container that is metal, is study, has sand it it. Never put your cigarettes in planter pots. That’s, unfortunately, how a lot of our fires have started.”
In total, 21 people were able to make it out of the three burning houses safely, and family members credit Arshaan with saving several of them.
“If it wasn’t for him then they would be stuck in the fire.” Dhaliwal said.
“Arshaan, he saved everyone!” said Ananteep.