Sixteen-year-old Jubari Phillips of Glamorgan Tobago was thrown into the limelight after rescuing his family members from their burning home early Monday morning.
Six other people including Jubari are now homeless – four adults ages 86, 59, 55, and 32 along with children ages 13 and 10.
Although the soft-spoken, reserved Form four Bishop’s High School student, openly admits to “not liking the media thing” he said all he could think of when he helped his family out of the burning house was his granny. He said he hopes that his story could motivate other young men to always do the right thing.
The teen shared the harrowing experience with Guardian Media.
“I was sleeping and in my sleep I smelled smoke so I got up, and ran downstairs by my uncle and when I looked in his room I saw fire everywhere on his bed on the walls – just fire, so I ran back upstairs and got some water but I really couldn’t do anything because it was too much so I just started to wake up everybody to get them out of the house.”
Jubari explained that because the two-storey dwelling house was built on property that slopes beneath the main road, even after exiting the building he felt that everyone was still in danger.
“Because of where we were, we could still literally feel the heat from the fire and things were just falling from the house so we had to go further up the road, I just really had to get them up the road. Honestly, I was scared but I didn’t even think about it I just had to make sure they were safe.”
The teenager who said his favourite subject is Agricultural Science said he also enjoys playing football, hunting and video games. When asked if the experience would make him consider firefighting as a future career, he zealously said “Nah – I just can’t do that.”
He instead prefers being a police officer.
Jubari’s grandmother Jaqueline Hamilton said she always knew her grandson had the potential to do great things and described him as “loving, helpful and disciplined.”
“Jubari does not give any kind of trouble, he has always been a good person and I would like to see him join the fire service and move up the ranks.”
The family was not able to save anything in the blaze. Hamilton said they were in the process of acquiring material to renovate their home before the devastating fire.
“It’s really tough for us but everything happens for a reason and we still have life,” she said.
The teen hero admitted there is one thing he would do differently if given a second chance.
“If I could go back in time, I think I would try to save some things because it’s really hard to see my entire family have to start over because we lost everything.”
Jubari said he hopes his actions would inspire young men to instinctively do the right thing in every situation. He said the right thing should become second nature without thought until doing good things become a way of life.