Three teenagers received Citizen Lifesaving Awards on Monday for saving eight kids from a burning Puyallup house in April. It was a happy ending, even though the youths broke a vital safety rule: Never re-enter a burning home.
recounted the scenario. A group of parents went out for dinner after leaving three teens – a boy and girl age 15, and a girl, 13 – in charge of eight younger siblings and friends, who were upstairs playing games.
Two of the older teens had been using hoverboards earlier that day, then plugged them into a wall socket to recharge.
The teens heard an explosion in the hallway. Sparks and flames erupted from a hoverboard battery. Coats and jackets hanging overhead ignited.
One of the teens ran upstairs to usher the children outside, where the 13-year-old had the presence of mind to do a headcount.
One of the little kids was missing. A 5-year-old.
The older girl ran back inside, blinded by black smoke. But she knew her way around the house and found the little girl upstairs. They dodged flames, hopped over a burning stairwell, and safely made it outside.
A yelping dog trapped in the house nearly tempted one of the teens back inside, but this time better judgment prevailed. Two dogs died in the fire.
Authorities warn people never to re-enter a burning structure because typically, they'll be overcome by smoke and perish.
This time, three level-headed teens broke the rules.
And because they did, 11 kids are safe today – eight pre-teens and their older rescuers.