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Tenn. boys recognized for fighting fire on neighbor's porch

An 11-year-old climbed the fence with a garden hose after seeing smoke


By Linda A. Moore
The Commercial Appeal

MILLINGTON, Tenn. — At first, Joshua LaVoice said, he thought his neighbors were grilling July 3, when he saw smoke across the fence from his home on Ridge Bay Cove in the Waverly Farms neighborhood of Millington.

It didn't take long for Josh to realize that the fire wasn't from a grill. He alerted his mother and with help from little brother Noah LaVoice, grabbed the garden hose and contained the fire until the Shelby County Fire Department arrived.

On Monday, Josh and his brother were recognized for their heroism.

"It is the quick reaction of these two young men that really, really, I think, epitomizes the essence of citizen involvement in supporting our first responders," county Mayor Mark Luttrell said as he presented the brothers with certificates.

"It's not a small thing, what these young men did," said county fire Chief Alvin Benson.

The boys are home-schooled and their mom, Shirl LaVoice, helped drag the 100-foot garden hose. Noah got the nozzles.

With no gate, Josh went over the fence.

"I climbed over the fence and started spraying the fire until a few other people came along and broke down the fence so they could get closer to the fire," said Josh, who turned 11 on Sunday.

They hosed down the porch until the fire department arrived. The fire was contained to the porch.

Shirl LaVoice said they've since gotten closer to those neighbors. At no point during the emergency was Josh afraid.

"He was really close to the flames," she said. "He did tell me he was feeling hot, but he didn't feel afraid only because of his faith. He knew that God was watching after him. He knew this was something he should do."

The fire department doesn't always recommend that citizens take such an active part.

"Call 911, if there's an opportunity to make a difference, make a difference in a safe way," Benson said. "These young men did exactly that."

Copyright 2016 The Commercial Appeal

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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