Teenaged babysitter saves her three siblings from house fire

Nadine Bells
Good News
August 2, 2012

On Tuesday morning, Sherisse Thorsteinson, 14, helped her three young siblings escape from a fire at their Lundar, Manitoba home, CTV Winnipeg reports.

She was babysitting at the time.

Sherisse and her three siblings, ages eight, nine, and 10, were watching TV together that morning. Shortly after 9 a.m., her eight-year-old brother wandered into his bedroom and saw smoke coming from his parents' bedroom. He immediately told his big sister.

"We walked into my parent's room to check it out and the fire was already huge because it had caught onto some hanging clothes on the wall," Sherisse told the Winnipeg Free Press. "I told everyone to get out. I grabbed my phone and called 911 as I ran out of the house.

"About two minutes later, we were outside and the door flew open from all the pressure from all the flames and smoke. We ran further down the street and help came pretty quickly after."

By the time fire crews arrived, the home was engulfed in flames.

Among the firefighters on the scene was Jason Thorsteinson, the children's father and volunteer with the local fire department.

"I came out here as a parent but as soon as I knew my kids were safe in town I went to work as a firefighter," Jason told CTV News, adding that he was glad his fire-safety lessons paid off.

"I was just so proud of her. She was terrified and she acted so quickly," Jason told the Winnipeg Free Press.

"That's the importance of having a mature person with your children. That's the importance of having a fire safety plan. Obviously, this girl was very quick-thinking and knew what had to be done. They were very mature and responsible actions," said Sergeant. Richard Marshall of the Lundar RCMP, adding that the family home is a total loss.

The family plans to rebuild on the same lot.

Sherisse, who is entering grade 10, is hesitant to accept her new hero status, insisting that her siblings would have escaped safely even if she wasn't there.

"I still feel frightened today. I'm just scared because it felt like it could have happened when I wasn't there. My family says I'm a hero, but I just did what I had to do," said Sherisse.