By Jim Williams

(CBS) — As fire swept through the apartments in the 2100 block of Vermont in Blue Island, Kiana Smith got a call at work.

“To hear your house is on fire and you’re not there physically, so many different things go through your head,” she tells CBS 2’s Jim Williams.

Smith’s three children were at home.

Justin Wilson got a call, too. Wilson’s girlfriend was in their first floor unit.

LeMont Dembry and his girlfriend were at the laundromat next door. He called 9-1-1 and heard a warning from the dispatcher: Stay away from the fire scene.

He did not heed that warning. Dembry got three boys out first.

He then dashed down to the first-floor apartment and got Wilson and her dogs out.

Kiana Smith was reunited with her sons.

“The damage is very disheartening, very disheartening. But it’s stuff we can get back. I can’t replace my children,” she said.

Others are calling LeMont Dembry a hero, which he shrugs off.

“I just thought about the kids,” he says.