Valdosta teen honored for heroic rescue

Valdosta teen honored for heroic rescue

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - From City of Valdosta

Valdosta Fire Chief Freddie Broome honored Najee Harris, age 14, with a commemorative fire challenge coin at the October 7 City Council meeting for heroically evacuating two elderly neighbors from their home which recently suffered a structural fire.

On September 22, 2014, at 8:53 p.m., the Valdosta Fire Department responded within three minutes to call for a reported house fire at 4 Prince Cove Circle. Heavy smoke and flames were visible upon the arrival of VFD Engine Company No. 2.  Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire, while confirming that no one was inside the structure.

Witnesses reported to fire officials that the two elderly residents were safely evacuated from the home by Harris, who lives at a neighboring home.  As a result of Harris' heroic efforts, fire crews were able to prioritize and extinguish the fire, and there were no injuries to fire personnel or occupants at this scene.

“According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most fire victims die from smoke or toxic gases—not from the burns,” said Chief Broome.  “Although, Najee has promised me he will not enter anymore building fires, it is inevitable that his heroic actions saved the lives of two citizens and aided the Valdosta Fire Department in prioritizing their fire ground operations to quickly extinguish the fire.”

Chief Broome's presentation occurs during National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12, in which communities across the nation are emphasizing fire prevention education and the importance of having working smoke detectors.  One of the simplest ways for citizens to protect their families from fire is to ensure their homes have working smoke detectors outside all rooms in their homes. The Prince Cove Circle home fire—which began in one of the bedrooms—was caused by an electrical shortage; however, the home did indeed have working smoke detectors.

During the entire month of October—which is also National Fire Prevention Month—the VFD will be out at city schools and senior communities talking about fire safety, hosting puppet shows at the mall, and giving station tours, among other activities.

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