Haily ‘Moss’ Strong, 23, saw Brittany Downing, 31, and Josh Ellis’ house burning from a mile away in Fairfield around 1am on July 5, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
Strong, who only lives a few neighborhoods away, was driving home from a friend’s Fourth of July party and was nearly home when she noticed ‘black smoke above the trees.’
‘It was super dark out too. I could just barely see a bit of black smoke above the trees,’ she told DailyMail.com on Wednesday.
‘I honestly thought it was just a rogue firework or something at first, but I knew I wouldn’t sleep that night if I didn’t at least drive over and see what was going on.’
She drove toward the flames with her roommate before the Ring camera shows her running up the couple’s front door and banging on it, nervously telling the Ring camera: ‘You guys’ garage is on fire!’
By the time she arrived, the flames were already breaching the house, Strong told DailyMail.com. It is unclear what started the fire and Strong said that it is still being investigated.
She banged on the for nearly two minutes before Ellis, 33, answered. Although it only felt like ‘seconds’ to the 23-year-old, who was struggling to breathe from all the smoke and could feel the ‘heat on my face and arm’ from the fire.
‘At the time, I was mostly just praying that the garage would stop exploding – there was multiple small explosions going off – and praying that I could get the family to wake up,’ she told DailyMail.com.
Strong even consider ‘breaking a window’ because she was ‘terrified they were sound asleep.’
‘I was in fight or flight and was thinking with logic over feelings, which I like to think helped me keep my head down and focus on that night.’
Despite her panic, by the time Ellis answered the door, she apologized.
‘I’m so sorry, your garage is on fire,’ a nervous Strong told a shirtless Ellis.
‘Oh s**t,’ he said as he ran out the door.
Downing and Ellis were inside their bedroom watching Stranger Things while their nine children slept in their rooms inside the house when Strong notified them of the dangerous fire.
The parents ran throughout the house, knocking on doors with two fists and ‘physically grabbing them out of the bed.’
‘They were knocked out,’ Ellis told CNN.
They’re now calling Strong family and crediting her heroic act for saving their entire family.
‘She saved our family, no exaggeration about that. She stayed and she saved our family. I mean, the house was ablaze,’ Ellis told WLWT.
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