Boston third-grader honored for bravery after helping family, neighbors escape fire
“Just remember, the Boston Fire Department salutes you,” Lt. Leroy Hamilton told 8-year-old Hasani Little, who helped save five adults and 11 children
By Grace Zokovitch
BOSTON — Around 3 a.m. on Dec. 2, 8-year-old Hasani Little’s house caught fire — and the kid didn’t hesitate to spring into action.
“There was smoke on the top of the wall,” Hasani remembered the fire, speaking at a ceremony in his honor at the P.A. Shaw Elementary School on Monday. “That’s what really scared me.”
But even so, he got his 3-year-old and 5-year-old sisters out, braved his way upstairs, woke the neighbors and even helped dress an infant out in the December cold.
The massive fire decimated the triple-decker, but all five adults and 11 children made it out safely — thanks in large part to the third-grader’s cool-headed bravery.
“Hasani is very calm under pressure,” said Geneva Davis, standing with her sons Hasani and his brother Hendrix. “He’s very mature. He’s very empathetic. He’s loving. He loves his community. He loves his neighbors.
“I’m very grateful he’s my son,” she said, smiling down at the kid.
The fire started when a candle exploded and lit the curtains, Davis described. As she rushed to try and douse the flames, call the fire department and alert some neighbors, Hasani’s help was key in getting everyone to safety.
The whole P.A. Shaw Elementary community has really rallied around the family and two teachers put Monday’s event together, said Principle Tinu Arowosegbe.
The Local 718 Boston Fire Union came out in support, presenting the family with a check from the Children’s Fund to help them recover heading into the holidays.
“Just remember, the Boston Fire Department salutes you,” BFD Lieutenant Leroy Hamilton told Hasani.
Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Hasani said, “A fireman.”
From Hasani’s teacher Ms. Camacho helping set up a GoFundMe to BPS sending transportation to get the kids from the hotel in Revere Beach to their Dorchester school, the school staff has been a huge support, Davis said.
“The way that this community steps up whenever there’s a need never ceases to amaze me,” said Arowosegbe, packed in the school library with city officials, firefighters, school staff and community members who came out to recognize Hasani. “It’s just so heartwarming and so inspiring to be a small part of this.”
It’s taking time to get into a new home and on their feet, Davis said, but with all the support, they’re making progress.
“It’d be hard for anyone to lose everything and try to rebuild,” said Davis. “I’m just grateful that even though it’s hard, the love makes it a little easier.”