Cole-Jonathon Neophytou was woken up by a terrible surprise. His house in Little Italy – the west end of Toronto – where he lives with his mother and grandmother, was on fire.
The 24 year-old told Yahoo Canada News that he woke up on the night of December 1, 2017 after hearing neighbors yelling.
“I ran to the window to see a bunch of people surrounding the house and a big red glow coming from the porch,” Neophytou said in an email.
After waking up his mother and grandmother, the aspiring film maker, who also runs his own YouTube channel, grabbed his camera before heading out of the house. He and his mother made it out of the house first. Neophytou went back in to get his grandmother out, who was also carrying one of their cats.
After facing some judgement for neglecting his grandmother when he initially left the house, Neophytou posted this video with her after the fire to explain exactly what happened:
Viewers of this video on the internet also questioned why he didn’t help put out the fire. He says he was just following instructions from the firefighters.
“I attempted to grab the fire extinguisher from my neighbour…so he wouldn’t have to get close to the fire and put himself in danger…which is why the firefighters told us not to try anything with the extinguishers or even a hose if we had one,” Neophytou said.
According to the video Neophytou posted on Youtube, the police told him that an arsonist had set seven houses on fire in the area, with Neophytou’s home being the first one.
Despite the criticism that Neophytou faced for taking his camera with him, he doesn’t regret his decision.
“I wanted to share a huge event in my life, I wanted to show the bravery of firemen in the line of duty,” he said.
Neophytou says that his family and all of their pets are safe and the damage of the house is limited to the exterior. He also thanks the firemen for their assistance that evening.
“What I [learned] about fires is that the smoke is actually what can kill many people in these situations,” Neophytou said. “Even if a fire doesn’t look like much it creates a ton of smoke that is just as dangerous.”
According to a Toronto Police, they arrested 20 year-old Makoons Meawasige-Moore in connection to fire at Neophytou home and the other fires in the area. Meawasige-Moore has been charged with six counts of Arson Disregard for Human Life and Arson Causing Property Damage.