Not many middle-school kids can lay claim to having ridden in the front seat of a fire truck. Or know how to use a fire extinguisher properly. And for sure not many can say they’ve actually stopped a fire from spreading and saved their families in the process.
But 13-year-old Wesley Alig can.
And now he’s even got an award to prove it. The Outstanding Contribution to Fire Prevention Award, which was created just for him, recognizes the teen’s efforts in using skills he learned in the Oak Ridge Junior Police Academy to squash a fire in the kitchen of his family’s home before it could spread and do even more damage.
When a slow cooker on the stove caught fire, the Jefferson Middle School student said he knew just what to do. “So I did it really quick and got out,” Wesley said. Thinking quickly, he got the fire extinguisher and put out the blaze.
Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley said Wesley did all the hard work before his crew even got to the scene. “He extinguished the fire, so when we got there we simply cleaned up the mess and got the smoke out of the house,” Kerley said. “By doing that, he saved their home.”
Wesley said he’s just glad he was there and knew what to do .
His mother, Carman, on the other hand, said she was alarmed to receive a text saying there was a fire at the house. She called the experience a nightmare. “There’s nothing like that moment when you know your kid is home alone and you get that text,” she said, adding she was relieved to learn Wesley was safe.
Oak Ridge authorities – police, fire and other first responders – have lauded Wesley’s quick thinking and level-headed response. Officer Barry Bunch is director of the Junior Police Academy. He said he hopes Wesley’s story inspires other youngsters to learn fire-safety skills.