Local teen deemed hero after fire rescue

Miles Lapi who jumped out of a two-story window along with April and Mary Kwiatkowski during the fire that burned the Palatine home last week is shown. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

PALATINE BRIDGE — A local teen is being deemed a hero following a fire that burned a family of 10’s home on July 27.

Miles Lapi, who was staying overnight with the family the night of the fire, broke a second-story window in the home and jumped out, along with Mary and April Kwiatkowski.

Lapi said he was at the home playing X-Box with Nick Kwiatkowski and other family members right before the fire occurred. Nick and Miles have been friends since fifth grade, Lapi said.

“[Nick’s] dad just starts yelling ‘fire’ and stuff, and then he comes up stairs. I think he grabbed a couple kids and ran downstairs,” Lapi said

Lapi said Mary was in one of the bedrooms on the computer.

Miles Lapi, left and Michael Lapi right pose for a phote Friday. Miles Lapi jumped out of a two-story window last week to make it safely out of the Palatine home fire. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

“She thought we were telling her to come down for dinner,” Lapi said. “The smoke in the room that we were in wasn’t really in [the room that Mary was in], but it was coming up the stairs by that time. Everyone else got down besides the three of us.”

He said they then shut the door and he punched out the window and jumped out.

“I wasn’t really thinking about it,” Lapi said. “I thought it was a dream.”

“A window blew out and I thought it was the fire. But then [Miles] jumped out,” Kathy Kwiatkowski told the Leader-Herald on Wednesday, explaining there was a skinny tree next to the house, and the whole tree came down in front of her. “Miles rolls out of the tree and then the tree went back up. And as it went back up I watched it and there was Mary. She came down and landed on her butt. Before I could look up again, right after her was April.”

Kwiatkowski said April had gone back upstairs to see if all the other children made it out. The fire on the stairs singed her eyelashes and her hair and burned her fingers. “She went to go back and she said it was so black that she wouldn’t have been able to find a window if he hadn’t broke it and went out it.”

Lapi said he didn’t see the fire until he was out of the house.

“It was only smoke, but the smoke was really thick,” Lapi said.

Lapi said he didn’t have any injuries after jumping out of the window other than a small cut on his pinky finger since the tree he jumped into had cushioned his fall.

Lapi said when he thinks back to the fire, he wasn’t really scared. Lapi’s father, however, felt differently about the fire.

“It was scary for me not knowing what I was going up to find,” said Michael Lapi, Miles Lapi’s father. “I thank anyone who was involved,” he said of first responders who were at the scene of the fire.

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