By TARYN FITSIK
TROY, N.Y. — Kids are always being taught about fire safety in school, but their knowledge is not often put to the test. But nine year old Carlos Duffie practiced what he learned when it mattered the most during a recent fire, averting a tragedy.
Carlos was able to alert the six other people in his house that it was on fire, helping his family get out of their burning home.
“I smelled the smoke and I heard the fire alarm,” says Carlos.
Carlos says he thought it was all a dream when he woke up to the sound of a fire alarm back on October 24th. Realizing his home was on fire, Carlos sprang into action.
Troy Fire Department Captain David Paul says Carlos responded exactly the way he should have.
“You don't see that too often in adults, let along 9 year old children,” says Paul. “So he deserves to be recognized as a child who is very, very bright.”
Carlos was given an honorary firefighter award Monday, in front of all his classmates and teachers at School 18 in Troy, for his heroic efforts that saved seven lives, including his own.
Captain Paul says Carlos' actions show the importance of fire safety lessons in the classroom.
“We made a difference with Carlos, by him going through this class and then actually putting into use the knowledge he gained in the classroom,” says Paul.
Carlos' grandfather says despite losing their home, the family is doing well, and couldn't be more proud.
“You can always turn something positive, no matter how tragic it is,” says Clifton Perez. “I always try to look for the silver lining, so I think it will all turn out right.”
“It's just a really special day to be honored,” says Carlos. “I guess I did a really, really good job.”
In addition to the firefighter award, Carlos was given an honorary “eagle” award from School 18, for “soaring above expectations”. The eagle is the mascot for the school.
Carlos' family was also given 16 hundred dollars in gift certificates from the school to help with their loss.