Smoke is filling the house, pouring out of the oven where dinner has caught fire--but the pets are out of the building and the Brookline Fire Department is on its way.
This is the situation for which Brookline 12-year-old Myles Underwood was honored yesterday afternoon at Fire Station #1 in Brookline Village. Mass. Fire Marshal Stephen Coan presented him with a Young Heroes award for his actions.
"Because of what you did," Mass. Fire Marshal Stephen Coan began, "the pets are safe, the family is safe. You did everything right. I'm pleased to be here today to present you this citation, and it's under a program we have called SAFE."
Underwood was at home when his mother put some pizza in boxes in the oven, and told him she would "be right back." Shortly afterward, the boxes caught fire and poured smoke into the house. The "Young Hero" evacuated the family pets from the home and called 911, and his mother.
Underwood simply said "Thank you," and accepted the citation.
SAFE, or Student Awareness of Fire Education, focuses on teaching elementary school students about fire safety so they can in turn educate their parents. Coan explained that the Young Heroes program started 17 years ago with an empty three-ring binder, and that today, the notebook contains over 200 names of other Young Heroes.
"People don't realize that fire does happen. When they see the fire trucks going down the road, there's a victim of fire out there. Every time they leave the barn, they're going somewhere to help someone," Coan went on to say.
Several Brookline firefighters, the Underwood family, Selectmen Chair Betsy DeWitt, and Town Administrator Mel Kleckner were all on hand for the presentation. Coan awarded young Myles with a "Young Heroes" certificate and a T-shirt, as well as a bumper sticker for his parents' car.