AISEA Volavola is being labelled a hero.
The 17-year-old Swami Vivekananda College student is however still beating himself up for not being able to rescue the one-year old baby who tragically died in a house fire in Baro settlement near Korovuto on Friday.
"I just wish I could have saved the baby too. I tried my best but the fire was too hot and I could not save her," he said.
Mr Volavola had returned from school on Friday afternoon and was resting at his home, a stone's throw away from the scene of the tragedy when his younger siblings raised the alarm.
"I ran out of the house and went towards the burning building. Thick smoke was coming out from under the roof and the sitting room was completely on fire. The baby was in a sari hammock and the flames were all over it. I tried to open the front door but it was locked. The heat was unbearable and the roofing iron was very hot. Then I heard children screaming and when I ran to the bedroom window, I saw the baby's brother and sister on the bed, trying to get away from the flames that were getting close to them," he said.
"I broke the louvre blades and managed to pull the little boy out but the girl was scared and moved back into the room and that's when her hand got burnt from the flames. Finally, I managed to get hold of her and pull her out too. But I could do nothing to save the baby. It was too late," he recounted.
Mr Volavola said he carried the two children aged 2 and 4 to a safe distance from the home and told his siblings to get the children's mother to the scene.
"When the mother arrived, she was glad that I had saved her son and daughter but she cried when I told her that i could not rescue the baby," he said.
Home owner Mohammed Iqbal, a cane cutter, said he was thankful to Mr Volavola and thanked the secondary school student for his bravery.
"If it wasn't for him, all my children would have died. I thank him from the bottom of my heart, he is a hero," he said.