If you see something, say something. Keller’s mayor congratulates sisters who, by reporting potential fire danger, saved the day...twice.
As two sisters from the Northwest ISD recently learned, this simple lesson to trust your instincts and tell someone — made popular in recent years by Homeland Security — works in day-to-day life. By being observant and “telling an adult,” each girl saved their grandparents’ Keller home from fire on two separate occasions in as many weeks.
The girls often stay with their grandparents during the summer. In early August, Sarah Robinson, 9, was lounging in her grandparents’ backyard. During an evening swim with her grandfather, she noticed that the tiki torch near the house was burning “strangely.” She told “PopPops,” known to others as Keller resident Doug Robinson, who immediately doused the torch with water from a nearby garden hose. Doug Robinson surmised that the family dog may have hit the torch, knocking it sideways at about a 45-degree angle. The torch’s oil spilled from the canister and covered the bamboo, which in turn created a large flame. The torch’s frame, which was positioned under the one-story home’s eave, could have eventually reached the house. Robinson says of his granddaughter, “If she hadn’t have seen that, the whole house would have caught fire.”
One week later, granddaughter Samantha Robinson, 11, went outside to get a towel when she smelled smoke. At first, she thought someone might be barbecueing, but quickly got the sense something was wrong and noticed smoke bellowing from a wicker bar next to the house. She quickly went in to tell her grandparents. When PopPops investigated, he found that a mirror he uses to check backyard birdfeeders had caused the fire. The magnifying side of the mirror, which had been laid on a bar stool, caught the sun perfectly and focused the sun’s energy on the bar, which caused the wicker to burn. The bar, which sits under the house’s eave in the back yard, could have eventually caught fire and caused damage to the home.
“We’re super proud of the girls,” says Bonnie Robinson, also known as “Nana.”
To show their appreciation for their granddaughters’ observant behavior, the couple bought them Hero medals. They contacted members of the Keller Fire Department who agreed to come out in a fire engine to congratulate the duo in person and give them a tour of a real fire truck. Keller Fire Marshall Debra Crafton says, “We love that kids are being fire-safety conscious and paying attention to things that could cause fire. They were probably taught fire prevention in school, but more kudos to them if they weren’t. That they were intuitive enough to catch something that’s a hazard says a lot about their maturity,” Crafton adds.
Firefighter/paramedic Corey Shuman and driver/engineer and acting captain for the day Scott Finch from Station 1 (Keller Smithfield at Bear Creek Parkway) came out to the home in the Hidden Oaks subdivision, along with firefighter/paramedic Casey Williams from Station 3 on nearby Rufe Snow Drive. The team showed the girls around the fire truck, discussing the different equipment and gear found there. Acting captain Finch, who described the girls as “very smart,” praised their quick action. “Obviously, they did a good job of letting an adult know. Fires can get out of control fast.”
Mayor Mark Mathews came out to present the medals to the girls and thanked them for being so observant and brave. “As a city, we’re proud of you. It’s pretty awesome that you stayed calm and got help.”
The girls are daughters of Jason and Jamie Robinson, Fort Worth, and attend school in the Northwest school district. Sarah goes to Nance Elementary. She wants to be either a teacher, artist, scientist or writer someday. Samantha moves to a new school this year, Chisolm Trail Middle School. Though she says she has “no clue” about what career she wants in adulthood, she’s not ruling out firefighter — not after this experience. “This is fun!” Samantha says.
October is National Fire Prevention Month. Fire safety experts remind us to practice family fire safety drills and replace smoke alarms every 10 years.