Second grader recognized as hero

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Remaining calm and collected and remembering his lessons from a Child Fire Safety Education program taught by the Chesterfield Fire & EMS, seven-year-old, Kenneth “Tripp” Harris III, saved his mother from a fire in their home. His display of confidence and heroism was recognized by Chesterfield Fire & EMS during an annual awards ceremony recognizing more than 80 firefighters, EMS responders, policemen and citizens from the Chesterfield community for their acts of bravery and selflessness over the past year.

Tripp and his mother, Christine Harris and father, Kenneth Harris Jr., were not able to attend the annual awards ceremony last Tuesday evening recognizing Tripp for his bravery, so the ceremony came to Curtis Elementary on Monday to recognize and present him with the Lifesave Award.  

Before the first and second grade classes, Volunteer Coordinator David Tesh read his story – “On Friday, July 26, 2013, at 9:05 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to a call for a kitchen fire. Fire crews arrived to find smoke coming from the open front door of the home, and the occupants standing in the driveway.”

Fire crews were able to quickly get the fire under control and limit the fire damage to the kitchen. The occupant, Ms. Harris stated that she was cooking fish on the back-right burner and had gone for a minute into the living room. Her seven-year-old son, Tripp Harris, asked her about how dark it was getting; when she looked up she realized the stove was on fire.

Ms. Harris described the situation as getting out of control rapidly and she immediately began to panic. The house was filling up with smoke fast, making it difficult to see or breathe and it was her son that remained calm and focused while urging his mother to get out of the house. He dropped to the floor on his hands and knees to avoid the harmful smoke while grabbing his mother by the leg guiding her to the front door. Once outside, he told his mother that they needed to get far away from the house at a meeting place to wait on the arrival of the fire department.

Tripp learned these life-saving skills during the Child Fired Safety Education that is developed and taught by Chesterfield Fire and EMS. Firefighter David Webb was the instructor of his class at Curtis Elementary. “The fact Tripp remained calm and remembered his training made a positive outcome for him and his mother and saved both of their lives,” Webb said. “Chesterfield Fire and EMS is proud to present this young man with a Lifesave Award for the heroism he displayed on this day.”

Battalion Chief Keith Chambers presented the award to Tripp in front of his classmates with his mom and dad present, as well as firefighter David Webb and many others from the fire department in the audience.

“We look at life different now, totally different. I was one of those parents who thought he would never remember what he was taught about fire safety,” Christine Harris said. “Don’t underestimate these elementary kids. I am so proud of him.”

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