INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - On Tuesday, John Sola was just an 11-year-old kid. Starting the sixth grade was high on his mind.
But after living through a dramatic house fire on Wednesday, John certainly has a story to tell in the lunchroom.
He helped save his 4-year-old brother's life.
"I picked him up and then I ran as fast as I could to the truck," he said.
As his family's home went up in flames, John wasn't the only hero to step up.
His sister, 16-year-old Kayla Sola, helped drag her mother from a huge plume of smoke that spewed from the basement door.
"I...kicked the door in and this big billowing black smoke hit me," explained mom Laura Sola.
She was thankful that, even in devastation, her children thought first of their family's safety.
"If my family wasn’t safe, I’d probably not be the same. And I’m just so glad," said John.
Laura, her husband and three kids had spent countless hours at the home near 44th and Phelps in the past weeks. They had just put down money to buy the 'fixer-upper'.
So far, the fixing up investment had cost them upwards of $5,000. The Sola family had planned to move in next week.
They had to watch as what was truly their dream home went up in smoke.
The two-alarm fire drew firefighters from three different municipalities. Laura Sola said the smoke originated from a cable-wire outlet, but fire investigators have not yet released a cause.
What made the blaze even more dangerous were the swift winds and dry conditions. Firefighters said weeks of drought and wooden shingles created even more danger.
"A single cigarette or match you think is out can set a fire very quickly under conditions like this," said Frank Coots of the Independence Fire Department.
He suggested homeowners water around their home during times of extreme drought just in case a fire strikes in your neighborhood.
The irony in the affected Independence neighborhood on Wednesday evening: A storm was headed their way.
Many questioned whether rain could have contained the widespread effects of the fire.
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