By Pat Jenkins
Braylon Morgan has learned at a young age that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
The 4-year-old’s awareness helped prevent a possible tragedy when a fire started in his family’s house in Graham. Firefighters say his warnings led him, his mother and his infant brother to safety.
They were watching the National Football Conference championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers on TV Jan. 18. Braylon went into the kitchen and came back to tell his mom, Heather, that he smelled something burning. Heather checked but didn’t find anything amiss.
Braylon kept insisting they should leave the house and call the fire department. Minutes later, black smoke was billowing from the laundry room. It was the start of an electrical fire involving the furnace.
Heather, carrying five-month-old Cohen, fled quickly with Braylon. The house was filled with heavy smoke as soon as they got outside, Heather said.
Graham Fire and Rescue crews arrived within minutes and extinguished the fire. But heavy smoke damage forced the family to live with Heather’s mother for a week near Orting while cleanup was underway.
Heather said she and her husband, Christopher, and their 10-year-old daughter, Adelene, 10, who weren’t home when the fire broke out, are thankful that Braylon was alert that day.
”It could have been a lot worse. Braylon tells everybody he’s our little hero. We’re proud of him,” said Heather, who also praised the firefighters for getting to the scene quickly and limiting the damage.
Graham Fire officials returned the compliments to Braylon. At a meeting Feb. 24 of the fire district’s commissioners, Braylon was presented a certificate in recognition that he “knew exactly what to do and make sure the family was out of the home immediately and safe.”
Heather said Braylon, who attends preschool, hadn’t gotten any particular fire safety tips, but may have picked up some from annual fire-awareness visits that Graham Fire officials make to the Glendale housing community off 224th Street East where the family lives.
“You never know what kids are going to learn and remember. We’re happy for Braylon and his family,” said Myra Merdian-Drake, an education officer for Graham Fire.