A 12-year-old girl is being hailed as a hero for acting quickly to protect her younger siblings from a kitchen fire in their Ottawa home.

Annaka Boucher says she was "working on instinct" when she hustled her brother and sister out of the family home earlier this week, after smelling smoke while preparing toast in the kitchen.

"The fire alarm went off and I couldn't see any smoke, but I could smell it, like a burning rubber kind of smell," Boucher told CTV Ottawa on Wednesday.

The girl says she knew what to do because her family had practised a home escape plan in the event of a fire. "I knew: get out of the house," she said.

The toaster caught fire moments later, filling the house with black smoke.

"If I would have stayed in there for another two more minutes, one of us could have been trapped in the house and something horrible could have happened," Boucher said.

Firefighters were quick to arrive and contain the flames. They also managed to rescue the family's two cats.

Danielle Cardinal of Ottawa Fire Services credited Boucher for acting quickly under pressure.

"Annaka has been very brave because we can think we'd act a certain way during an emergency, but to execute it as flawlessly as she did, she has my nod for five gold stars," Cardinal told CTV Ottawa. She also praised the family for teaching their children what to do in case of a fire.

Though her birthday is only two weeks away, Boucher is already building a strong track record of safety. Her school named her the "safety patroller of the year" last year.

Boucher said she's just glad no one was hurt in the fire. "You can't replace a person but you can replace a TV," she said. "So as long as everybody's safe, then that's alright with me."