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Riley saves the day

Posted: 10am 15 Jun 2021

A Moreton Bay father has praised the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service’s education programs after his 10-year-old son raised the alarm when a fire broke out in the family’s kitchen.

Steve Butler says son Riley sprang into action, alerting adults who were outside, and herding visiting children to the household’s designated meeting spot near the letterbox.

Steve says the family was entertaining friends this month when the drama unfolded.

“We were defrosting some frozen meat in the microwave and when we took it out, we unknowingly bumped the stove, turning the hotplate on just a fraction,” he says.

Quick as a flash

“The packaging on the meat must have touched the element – it would have only been there two or three minutes.”

Steve says the adults were in the backyard barbecuing, while the children were in the loungeroom when Riley heard noises coming from the adjacent kitchen and went to investigate.

“Straight away he came to the door and notified the adults that there was a fire – he was very calm and collected.

Saving other children

“Then he took charge of the other kids and got them out of the house to the mailbox.”

Steve and a friend put out the fire with an extinguisher and smothered flames with a blanket, preventing the blaze from spreading through the home.

“I know that the education around fire safety and awareness in schools and at community events influenced Riley to do what he did,” Steve says.

“If it was 30 seconds later, it could have been a whole different story – there were flames touching the roof.

“I’m super proud of him – he saved the day by letting the adults know straight away.”

Planning pays off

Steve says his family used QFES plans and stickers given to his sons at school during a firefighter visit to devise a fire escape plan and agree on a designated meeting spot, and urges other families to do the same.

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