By Mary Simms
HONOLULU (KHNL) -- In this KHNL News 8 "Safety Alert," Mary Simms explains how a family faced with a threatening fire escaped with four young children. And, what they credit as the reason they're all safe.
Just three days ago 10-year-old Sunnie Saffery's homework assignment was to create, and practice, her family's fire escape plan.
Thursday morning, she woke up to a "fire alarm" -- and it wasn't a drill. Putting the practiced plan into action helped all 8 family members inside, get out safely.
For the Saffery family, this story could have been a tragedy.
Nine family members -- three generations, live under this roof.
"It was scary, looking out your window and the fire's right there," said next door neighbor Lei Saffery.
Lei's 8-year-old son Shaun's room was closest to the flames.
"Basically I woke up to screaming and my sister started yelling fire fire," added Lei Saffery.
Urgently, the family's fire escape plan went into action, with everyone moving across the street.
"And by the time I came out of the house, half of his house was already gone," said Saffery, referring to her next door neighbor.
Neighbors helped hose down the Saffery house until firefighters arrived.
For 10-year old Sunnie Saffery, the escape plan turned out to be a homework assignment with real life applications she never wanted to employ.
"I think it's good that we got the fire safety guide because we learned how we can escape from fires, and how we can get away from them," said Sunnie Saffery.
After Sunnie made the escape plan, the kids didn't want to practice, but "mom" said they'd better. Now, they're all grateful they did.
"I guess you always assume that you're never going to have to use this. But we had to do it since it was a home work assignment. I think it's good, it can save a lot more lives."
Honolulu Fire Department Captain Terry Seelig says it's a good example of an escape plan working, because it's been practiced.