A fire at a Worcester, Massachusetts, apartment left 13 people spending the Thanksgiving holiday at a hotel, but it could have been much worse if it wasn’t for a group of high schoolers on their way home.
Four junior ROTC members were driving from their high school when they saw smoke at a Hamilton Street apartment building.
The humble high schoolers credit their training with what they did next.
"We're in the ROTC program, and the values that we are taught, that they instill into us, we use those to act upon situations like this," Raesean Goodney said.
The group ran into the burning apartment building, going door to door to save the people inside.
"When we looked back, no one was out ... I didn't see no people, or nothing," Abderrahman Sebbai said. "It was just like, we need to go, like we have to go in there fast."
"I started kicking down the second door, and when I finally kicked it down, the resident finally came to the door and then I led him downstairs," Jordan Parker said.
Flames were focused to the back of the third floor, where, one room away, a woman was asleep with her three children.
"When she woke up, cause we were like shaking the bed, we were yelling at them to get up, get up, get up. She woke up and she was like really confused, she was shocked, she didn't know what was going on," Goodney said.
The group of friends says they called 911 when they first saw the flames. The fire department was there minutes later, but by that time, everyone was already outside.
All 13 people who live there, including the mother of three, made it out alive.
Emanuela Abbascia met with NBC10 Boston in a hotel conference room because she can't go back home with her three sons.
"Losing everything you've worked for has been heartbreaking," she said. "My son's room, I worked so hard to pay for this."
Everything is gone, but Abbascia says she has gained hope with neighbors and strangers donating all they can.
"Instead of being sad and making, you know rolling in pity, in the video you'll see that I kept on saying, 'God I still thank you' cause it could have ended up differently," she said.
Abbascia and her sons are moving out of the hotel on Monday as they start their search for a new home.