LYNN — The young teen who helped rescue his neighbors from the Easter Sunday fire on Nahant Street was honored by the mayor on Monday.
Anthony Feijoo was trying to fall asleep at 2 a.m. on April 1 when he heard what he thought were raindrops and the sound of his next door neighbor stomping his feet. Annoyed at the loud noises happening in the middle of the night, the 16-year-old tried to ignore it. Then he started to smell smoke.
“That’s when the fire alarms started going off,” he said. “So I opened the back door and got hit by the thick, black smoke and that’s when I ran to go tell my dad.”
Feijoo’s father, Peter, didn’t believe his son at first, given it was technically April Fool’s Day and the father-son duo was prone to playing jokes on each other.
“I heard the fire alarm but they were so sensitive that they’d always go off, even when the guy next to us was cooking,” said Peter Feijoo. “When I finally realized the fire was real I called 911 and told Anthony to go downstairs and get the lady on the first floor.”
The younger Feijoo made his way around the apartment building and got all of his neighbors out safely, racing back and forth from the first floor all the way to the third. The fire started because of electrical problems and engulfed the whole house in a short period of time,.
“The raindrops I was hearing was the fire crackling above me and the fire chief said if I was in there for 10 more minutes I would’ve been dead,” said Feijoo, a rising junior at Lynn English High School.
Scott Mooney was the landlord of the Nahant Street apartment building, which he considered his home, for more than 12 years. He was on a trip to Montreal when he awoke to several calls from his tenants.
“I couldn’t watch the news clip for three weeks but when I finally did, I saw what Anthony did and I was so proud of how he handled that and how he was a man about doing the right thing,” said Mooney.
Feijoo was honored while receiving a citation from Mayor Thomas M. McGee at City Hall, but he said he was just doing what he had to do, considering his neighbors’ lives were at stake. The teenager had lived in the apartment building at 108-10 Nahant St. for more than two years with his father and Michelle Jordan.
“He was just doing what any other person would have done and I’m proud of him,” said Peter Feijoo. “He’s very courageous, but the only thing that matters is everybody got out and it may have taken us a little while to get back on our feet but everything is good now.”
Thanks to Peter Feijoo’s boss at Raffaele Construction putting up first and last month’s rent, Feijoo and his family were able to move into a new apartment on Lincoln Street. Shortly after the fire that engulfed the home they had grown to love, the family started a GoFundMe page that raised more than $6,500. Students and faculty at his high school also helped Feijoo pave the way by starting fundraisers of their own in his name and paying his class dues in full. Principal Thomas Strangie of Lynn English even gave the teenager a box of shirts to help him get by.
“To have a young 16-year-old really make a difference and get people out of a fire by knowing what to do right away and making sure everyone was safe is definitely something that should be recognized,” said McGee. “There are so many great things happening in our community and it’s all about the people, and he reflects that.”