Papillion firefighters battled flames and extreme heat early Wednesday morning. Responders say fireworks likely sparked a pair of house fires in the city.
The first happened near Diane St & Hardwood Drive just after 1:30 am. Homeowners tell Channel Six they had thrown burnt firecrackers in the trash after hosing them down.
The precaution wasn't enough, and fire melted part of their trash can before moving to the side of their home, burning the siding of their garage and their neighbor's home.
"Just leave [the trash can] out away from the house overnight, keep it by the curb," recommends Papillion's Captain Brian O'Shea. "Use metal containers, not plastic, when you're throwing out [fireworks]."
Neither home sustained serious interior damage, and residents were out of both houses by the time crews arrived.
Another fire sent crews to Durham Drive & Citadel Drive shortly before 5 am. Like the first fire, the affected family said they had doused fireworks before throwing them out around 10 p.m.
It was Brianna and Kahard Djibril's five-year-old son, Jackson, who first awoke to the smell of smoke. He told Channel 6 News he looked out the window to see flames coming up from the trash can on the side of the house. He immediately woke up his parents and his three-year-old-sister.
"I told everyone to go outside," the boy said.
His father said, "Of course, we train them what to do, how to react, you know where to go in case of fire." In fact, the family's gone over the plan several times - meet outside at the mailbox across the street.
Djibril said he never expected his son would actually have to start putting that plan into action. "Very proud of him and grateful, just grateful," he said. "It could have been a lot worse."
His wife, is due to have her third baby any day. She and the other family members are okay. They'll be able to return to their home once the smoke fumes have been cleared. Damage to the exterior is fixable.
O'Shea, who also responded to the second fire, said they realized the magnitude of the heat once they went through the home. Jackson Djibril's headboard was partially melted. "He did exactly the right thing," said O'Shea.
Firefighters said the boy's early alert, even before the smoke detector signal, may have made a big difference. Another five minutes, and they expect the home would have gone up in flames.