Updated: Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 10:54 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 10:47 PM EDT
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) -- A resident of the boarding house that caught on fire Monday morning is being hailed as a hero.
"I heard some kind of explosion," Paul Samul of New Britain said.
Paul Samul was jarred from sleep around 4 in the morning. He smelled smoke, then the fire alarms went off and he got out of bed to check the kitchen.
"I turned around and there was smoke coming up from the first floor, so I ran around the house knocking on everybody's doors and I am banging and yelling, everybody get out of the house," Samul said.
It happened in the dead of the night on Hart Street in New Britain. There were 12 people asleep in the boarding house when flames started eating away at the front of the house.
"I am a heavy guy too so I was just pounding like hell on the doors and it was weird, I was always afraid I would be afraid of a fire, but just something just kicked in and said go wake everybody up," Samul said.
As people started running out into the night, Paul realized he did not see his neighbor Claude. Smoke was building, clogging the hallway and Paul ran back to get his neighbor and some pants.
"As soon as I took one step down, all of the smoke went in. It was like I ate smoke, that's how thick it was," Claude Sirois said.
Sirois was hospitalized and treated for smoke inhalation.
"This is like some shaving stuff," Sirois said.
He came back to the rooming house this evening to get the essentials. His apartment only suffered minor smoke damage because of quick thinking by neighbors.
"What we did was, we had a hose, and we started putting water on the fire even before the fire trucks got there," Sirois said.
And while the first floor is charred, it could have been a lot worse, but thanks to Paul Samul, everyone lived through the early morning fire.
"I don't feel like a hero. Something kicked in and I just ran around knocking on people's doors," Samul said.