15-year-old Lowell girl alerts police, helps to evacuate families from burning building

When a fire broke out at an apartment building in Lowell this morning, a 15-year-old high school girl alerted police and helped to evacuate four families.

At about 7:34 a.m., a police officer assigned to the Lowell High School Career Academy on Smith Street smelled smoke, as did Keysha Nunez, who ran up to the officer, and said she thought a house was on fire.

The officer and Nunez ran to 32 Lane St., where smoke was billowing out of the roof of the building, which housed four families. They both sprung into action to get the families out, none of whom had realized the fire blazing above them.


“It didn’t take long for us to evacuate them,’’ Nunez said. “We knocked on the doors and yelled ‘Fire!’ so that they knew it was serious. We grabbed the kids and moved them down the street, away from the house.’’

Nunez and the officer got all 17 residents — 10 adults and seven children — out of the house before the Lowell Fire Department arrived. No injuries were reported.

Since her heroic act this morning, Nunez said, she has been praised by fellow classmates, a Lowell school official, and some of the first responders at the scene.

But Vanessa Perez, Keysha’s mother, is perhaps her biggest fan.

“I have been crying all morning, I have been so emotional,’’ Perez said. “I know she’s going to be a wonderful person in this world. I’m very proud of what she’s done.’’

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