(LAFAYETTE, Ind.) -- An Indiana police department is praising a "heroic" 25-year-old Good Samaritan who rescued five children from a massive house fire.
Nicholas Bostic saved an 18-year-old who was home with her siblings, ages 2, 6 and 13, Lafayette Police Lt. Randy Sherer said. Bostic also rescued a friend of the 13-year-old who was there spending the night, Sherer said. The siblings' parents weren't home, Sherer said.
The blaze broke out around 12:30 a.m. Monday, Sherer said. Bostic was driving by when he spotted the house fully engulfed in flames and pulled over, he told ABC News, beating first responders to the scene.
Bostic didn't have his phone to call 911, so he ran to the back of the house to see if he could spot anyone, he said.
Bostic went inside and raced upstairs, where he found the 18-year-old, 2-year-old and two 13-year-olds, and he led them down the stairs and outside, Bostic said.
"I asked them if anybody was left in there -- and that's when they told me that the 6-year-old was," Bostic said.
Bostic said he ran back inside to look for the 6-year-old girl, but the thick smoke made it hard to see and the overwhelming heat scared him.
That's when he heard the little girl whimper, which he said gave him the courage to keep going. All the while, he was terrified the house would explode.
"The last thing I could do was waste a second panicking," he said.
Once Bostic found the 6-year-old, he punched through a window so they could escape, he said.
Bostic was hospitalized for severe smoke inhalation and a serious cut to his arm, police said. He has since been released.
All of the children are doing well, Sherer said.
Sherer called Bostic's actions "heroic. The city in a statement said Bostic has "impressed many with his courage, tenacity, and steadfast calmness."
Bostic said he's spoken with the children's parents.
"The dad said he'd love to take me out for a dinner," he said. "They have wide-open arms welcoming me as a part of their family."
"I'm glad I was there at the right time, the right place," Bostic added.
And Bostic, still recovering, said he wouldn't hesitate to race into another house fire.
"If opportunity came again and I had to do it, I would do it," he said. "I knew what I was risking. I knew the next second it could be my life. But every second counted."
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.