Boy, 4, honored by fire department for heroic efforts
When a propane grill caught fire, Daniel Koch alerted adults and "kept a dangerous situation from getting worse"
By Chris Stevens
Wicked Local North
MARBLEHEAD, Mass. — Four-year-old Daniel Koch dressed as a fireman for Halloween and the very next day was honored by a couple of real life firefighters who called him a hero.
When a propane grill caught fire on Oct. 22, it was Daniel who alerted adults and "kept a dangerous situation from getting worse," said Firefighter Brendan Sheehan. "We're very proud of you and you're a very brave boy."
Sheehan and Fire Chief Jason Gilliland surprised Daniel and his classmates Wednesday, Nov. 1 when they stopped by Daniel's class at the Marblehead Children's Center to present the young hero with a plaque and some goodies.
Daniel's mother, Mary Kim Koch, said they were having dinner at a friend's home and because the weather was so mild, they decided to grill. While they were eating, Daniel pointed to the grill and said fire. Mary Kim Koch said the adults responded in kind, saying yes, that's where the fire is, in the grill, where they cooked their dinner. She admitted they didn't pay much attention.
Then Daniel stood up, pointed again and again announced fire. Mary Kim Koch said she was about to offer a similar response when out of the corner of her eye, she saw flames maybe a foot high shooting up from the grill.
She said she ran next door and grabbed her fire extinguisher while someone else called the Fire Department. The fire was out before firefighters responded, but she was happy to have them check out the situation just the same.
Mary Kim Koch said, interestingly, just days prior, she and Daniel had read "Otis and the Kittens" by Loren Long, where Otis, a farm tractor, saves kittens from a fire.
"And three months ago, Daniel decided he wanted to be a firefighter for Halloween," she said.
Sheehan said Daniel did exactly what he was supposed to do when he alerted the adults.
"You took all that scariness and told an adult," he said. "That's what we, the Fire Department, wants you guys to do. If you see something like that, tell somebody."
Sheehan then presented Daniel with a framed citation that told the story of his quick thinking bravery and that had been signed by Gilliland. Along with the citation, Daniel also received a Marblehead Fire Department patch.
Gilliland then stepped in because he, too, wanted to shake Daniel's hand. He congratulated Daniel for his quick actions and presented him with a toy red fire Ccief's car, some fire engines and book about fire engines.
Daniel is scheduled to receive one more surprise when firefighters pick him up in a fire engine for a ride to his preschool class at the Glover School, Sheehan said.
Sheehan said it's nice to be able to honor kids when they do a good job.
"This is the best part of my day," he said.
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