Meadville Tribune

Local News

March 28, 2014

Boy credited with alerting his parents to Arch Street blaze

MEADVILLE — A 5-year-old is being commended for saving the lives of his family members during a Friday morning fire on Arch Street, according to Meadville Central Fire Chief Larndo (Tunie) Hedrick.

The family of six was displaced from their home at 409 Arch St. and are now being housed at Quality Inn in Vernon Township under the assistance of the American Red Cross. Although they made it out safely, two dogs died in the fire.

Firefighters responded on scene at approximately 5:54 a.m. Friday, according to Hedrick. The family had to go through the flames on the second floor to exit the house through the front door on the first floor. A cat and turtle were rescued, Hedrick said, though the family lost everything else.

Officials reported the fire, which was ruled accidental by Hedrick, was caused by a kerosene heater used as the main source to heat the residence.

Hedrick credited the 5-year-old, whose name was not disclosed, for saving his family by alerting his two parents and his siblings, a 4-year-old and two 1-year-olds, Hedrick said. No further details on the family were provided.

The 5-year-old paid attention when local fire departments visited his school and knew how to respond when he heard the fire alarm go off, according to Hedrick.

“I have to commend the young man,” the chief said. “He did exactly what he was trained to do.”

Upon Meadville Central’s arrival, firefighters found heavy flames on the first and second floors, Hedrick said. All six occupants were already evacuated.

Hedrick urged all residents to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using a kerosene heater, including keeping it a proper distance from all combustibles, keeping it properly vented and not leaving it unattended. He also said it’s illegal to use a kerosene heater as the main source of heat.

Meadville Central Fire Department was assisted on scene by West Mead No. 1 and 2, Vernon Central and Saegertown volunteer departments, Meadville Ambulance and Meadville police.

Emergency responders remained on scene for about one and a half hours.

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