From Emerson fire to City Council honorees, how the teen heroes came to be

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Two young men, Darius Dillard and Nate Williams, kicked down the door of a home in Rochester on Emerson street. They helped save a family of five, all of whom were strangers.

Dillard, left, Williams, right. The day of, on Emerson street.

“They were trying to get stuff out of the house and we were like, ‘no, you don’t have any time to get anything out of the house, you just need to get out of the house,’ and go because I don’t want none of you all to get burnt or nothing,” Williams said. “I felt like I wouldn’t want my family in a similar situation and i just wanted to help other people.”

“I was relieved,” Dillard said. “That’s the first thing that came to my mind because the family made it out safely, I made it out, my cousin, everyone made it out of there safely, that’s all that really mattered, honestly.”

After the story went viral, News 8 caught up with them at their home. News 8 also spoke to Williams’ father, who is also Dillard’s uncle.

Williams Sr., Dillard, and Williams from left to right. In front of their home the day after.

“I’m feeling great,” Williams said. “As long as the family is safe, that’s all that matters. But hopefully they can move back to their lovely house. And get situated.”

“I didn’t know them from a can of paint,” Dillard said. “That’s the crazy thing about it. They just thanked me after. Me and my cousin.”

“I’m proud of them,” said Nathaniel Williams Sr. “That means that it’s something me and his mother teaching them to be good men. For boys to men, they’re growing up to be good men. They care more about other people than just themselves. So I’m hoping they keep them going on.”

Then, finally, possibly the final stop. Mayor Lovely Warren recognized them in a city council meeting. Declaring August 20th “Darius Dillard and Nate Williams Day.”

Councilmember Gruber, Fire Chief Jackson, Dillard, Williams, Councilmember Lightfoot, Mayor Warren, left to right.

The fire chief and other fire department members encourage the young men to take the civil service exam.

“Job well done. Please don’t do it again,” said RFD battalion chief David Compton. “And sign up for our test. I’d love to see the two of them sign up and take our exam and do well.”

“I would love them to do something more than a job,” Williams Sr. said. “Make it a career. There’s nothing else I can ask. They like sport, but a career, something that’s going to take them further than their dad. I wouldn’t. Just a loss for words.”

“I’ll continue to live up to what they’re noticing me for and i’m not going to let the city down,” said Dillard.

“I’m just going to keep living up to it, and keep moving forward and i hope that family can get back into their house,” Williams said. “We’re just regular kids growing up. We’re trying to make Rochester a better place to live.”

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