Cochenour resident Amanda Macumber is feeling grateful in the aftermath of a kitchen fire that threatened her home and her family last week. Battling the Norwalk virus, the mom of three was under the weather on November 14, 2011, when her son Brody—himself sick and home from school—alerted her to the fact that her stove and toaster had erupted in flames. With mom admittedly paralyzed in shock, six-year old Brody came to the rescue leading his two younger siblings out of the smoky house and safely outdoors.
“As soon as I saw what was happening, I was just paralyzed—standing, staring, wondering how can I fix this? What do I do? My mind was blank as far as what to do next,” remembered Macumber. “I looked over at Brody who just yelled, ‘I know what to do’ and told Ava and Madden to follow him as he dropped to his hands and knees. They followed him and crawled out the door and onto the deck.”
Still in shock, Macumber details how even watching her children, she remained paralyzed and did not follow until Brody snapped her out of her trance yelling at her to “Get out! Get out!”. Macumber did just that and was soon helping her children into their warm winter boots and jackets as her husband Scott scrambled to put out the blaze.
Acknowledging how proud she is of her son, Macumber is offering some serious thanks to Golden Learning Centre teachers Kerri Storey and Candace Wiwcharyck who spent a week earlier this month teaching their students about fire safety and fire prevention. Because of their instruction, notes Macumber, Brody knew exactly what to do when faced with the heavy smoke and flames and was quick to enact the escape plan he’d drawn up and practiced just the week before. “I’m still having a hard time dealing with the fact that I didn’t know what to do,” she admitted. “But Brody knew what to do. The poor child was up all night vomiting and he immediately put to action what he had learned, he stayed calm and he wasn’t scared.”
Taking the time to consider what happened and what she has learned from the experience, Macumber does have some advice for parents who she encourages to never underestimate their children when it comes to reacting to an emergency. “Don’t think that just because your children are young, they can’t help. Talk to them and make sure that they know what the fire emergency plan is and that they know how to dial 911,” she said. “For adults; even when you think your fire extinguisher is new, have it tested to make sure it is working—we are going to have ours tested to see what happened and why they didn’t work—and be calm. Be calm and get out!”
While things are already settling back down at the Macumber household, last week’s fire did result in some damage to the family’s kitchen that will need to be cleaned up and repaired. Despite that, Macumber is quite clear that things could have been decidedly worse without Brody’s fast-thinking and to say she is proud of her little hero hardly does her sentiment justice.