We all teach our kids lessons about safety to prepare them for situations that we hope they never have to encounter. But one mom from Circleville, Ohio discovered firsthand the importance of such preparation, after she and her kids experienced something every family fears: a house fire.
Last Sunday morning, mom of four, Jessica Harris, looked outside her home to find that her shed was ablaze. She was home alone at the time with her young children, Tyson, age 6, Jesslyn, age 4, McKenna, age 2, and Bevon, age 1. Harris says that she panicked upon seeing the flames, but her oldest son, Tyson, kept a level head. He immediately jumped into action, making sure that both of his sisters got out of the house quickly.
Harris told The Scioto Post that if Tyson hadn’t grabbed and held his 2-year-old sister when he did, she likely would have run away.
“He’s so smart and had such quick reactions, I will never forget that,” she told her local paper. “If it wasn’t for my oldest boy, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten everyone out in time … He helped me get everyone outside in less than two minutes.”
Harris also told The Scioto Post that while she was on the phone with 911, Tyson dialed up his dad, grandma, and several other family members to alert them to the situation.
Harris tells Babble that she couldn’t be more in awe of Tyson’s quick thinking and courageous actions that day, which also happened to be her sweet son’s 6th birthday.
“My son is my hero. I can’t even put in words how proud I am of him,” she says.
On how the family is coping now, Harris shares, “We are OK. We are looking for a home as we speak. We no longer need clothes or toys. We now need stuff like pots and pans, towels, silverware, plates, cups, household items …”
The community has rallied together to support this family, which includes Harris’ partner and the children’s father, Tyronne Lewis.
The Harris/Lewis family is doing their best, but Harris admits that it’s a tough loss for them all, especially around the holidays.
“We loved our home,” she shares. “We didn’t have a lot of money or stuff but we were happy with what we had.”
It’s an unthinkable situation to be in, but Harris feels utterly grateful that her whole family is safe, which she attributes to the quick thinking of her brave boy. From now on, December 17th will not only mark Tyson’s birthday, but it will also mark the day he became a hero. His family hopes to have a place to call home by Christmas.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires in 2015. And according to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Discussing and practicing fire safety as a family can significantly improve the chances of keeping everyone safe in the event of a fire.