Washington state fire crews are praising the quick-thinking action of an 11-year-old boy who saved his family's home from a potentially dangerous situation.
On Nov. 6 at 3:40 p.m., the Moses Lake Fire Department (MLFD) at Moses Lake, Washington, was dispatched to a structure fire at a family home. Upon arrival, they discovered an 11-year-old boy named Isaac Rodriguez standing alone outside the house.
MLFD fire inspector Tasiya Deering told The Epoch Times: "It was reported that smoke alarms in the home were sounding, and that there was smoke seen coming from the heater vents. ... The fire department was able to make entry into the home and ensure the child’s safety while investigating the cause of the smoke."
The pre-teen who had called 911 was distraught about the situation but was relieved to receive help from firefighters.
"He was very cooperative with the crew," Ms. Deering said. Isaac's parents were notified and quickly arrived at the scene to be with their son.
The fire department was unable to determine the cause of the smoke but based on Issac's report concluded that it must have come from the heating system. Heaters, Ms. Deering said, are one of the most common causes of home fires in the U.S., and smoke from a structure is "always cause for concern" if the origin is unknown.
However, she was unable to determine the severity of what would have happened since she believed that each scenario was different.
"But the very real danger of home fire was present, and we know that due to the age and type of construction of the home that a fire would likely have moved very quickly and burned at a very high temperature, had it been allowed to develop," she said.
"The quick thinking of this bright young boy, and rapid response from MLFD, undoubtedly prevented this situation from evolving into a much worse outcome," they posted.
A study conducted by the U.S. Fire Administration found that occupants of a home may have fewer than two minutes to evacuate in the event of a fire before "thick black smoke" fills the home. Fully developed fire can occur in as little as three minutes. Most fire deaths occur from smoke inhalation, not heat exposure, Ms. Deering shared.
MLFD's main objective in sharing Isaac's story is to educate others on the best course of action in the event of smoke: evacuate the home and call 911.
"Americans often don’t believe they will ever experience a home fire and when they do they often feel unprepared," Ms. Deering said. "We want everyone, even adults, to develop an escape plan that includes two exits and an outside meeting place, talk about this plan often, and practice the plan at least two times a year."
She further advised people to keep their smoke alarms in good working order: check their function monthly, change their batteries annually, and replace them according to manufacturer's guidelines.
"Last but not least, take care of all sources of heat in your home," she said. "Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from anything else and turned off and unplugged when not in use."