Kent police and fire departments honor 9-year-old boy for heroic efforts

KENT, Ohio - Kent Police and Fire recognized a nine year old boy as a hero on Thursday for being alert enough to realize that his neighbor's house was on fire and to quickly summon for help.

Brandon Waterson says he was on his front porch when he smelled and saw smoke coming from the windows of the house next door.

The neighbor was at a doctor's appointment, so Waterson made a quick call to his mother, who was at work, telling her that he thought something was wrong.

"I told him, I believe if there's smoke there's usually fire, and then I told him to go across the street to his best friend's house," said Sandra Waterson.

The boy went across the street to his friend's home and had his friend's mother call 9-1-1.

Fire Chief John Tosko was the first to arrive on scene.

"When we pulled up I saw smoke coming from the back of the house and also the side window. There was black smoke coming out of the side window," said Tosko.

"They (firefighters) made it up to the door where they saw the smoke, forced entry and, fortunately for us, the fire was small and it was behind the door in the kitchen," said Fire Captain Rich Lynn.

"A fire doubles in size every 30 seconds and its really important that we get to it in a hurry," said Lynn. He explained that once they made their way inside, the firefighters were able to put the fire out with only an extinguisher.

"A few more minutes, I think it would have spread through out the rest of the kitchen, but because we got called so quickly the fire was relatively small," said Tosko.

Kent Police Officer John Romanoski was the first police officer to arrive at the scene and said that the fire department already had the fire out by the time he arrived.

"It was only because of what Brandon did that we had such a quick response. And, of course they performed very well, as they always do," said Romanoski.

Firefighters said they were able to find a dog in a bedroom of the smoky house and got it out unharmed.

"It saved the dog's life, Chloe, and it save the house from being completely destroyed, and that family losing everything. And that's very important. And, we recognize Brandon for being a hero for doing that," said Kent dispatcher Becky Schneider.

On Thursday, Kent Police and Fire recognized Waterson's effort by presenting him a t-shirt, a dairy queen coupon, a police pin, and other gifts, including a fire department challenge coin rarely given to anyone who does not work for the department.

"Not too often do we get a story like this where a child recognizes something and has the intelligence to go out and make sure that the fire department gets there," said Tosko.

"I have been doing this for over 20 years and I have seen a lot of bad, but the good stuff is what pushes you through. So this is a great one, not a good one, but a great one," said Romanoski.

The house has suffered damages estimated at $10,000. The fire is believed to have started from a candle that had fallen onto the floor.

Waterson says he's okay with being called a hero, but he is still sad that his neighbor had any damage at all.

"I'm most happy about kind of both, saving their dog and their house," he said, "I've never did this, I've never saved a dog or a house before so I feel really great."