Deptford, New Jersey, Nick DiVito, 9 — who has Asperger’s Syndrome received a commendation from the Deptford Fire Department after he saved his mum from a potential house fire.
The South Jersey Times reports that Nick woke up at 7:15 on the morning of Nov 21 and smelled smoke. His mother Jackie Nebel was in bed. Nick got out of bed and discovered that a large box fan in his mother’s room had caught fire.
Jackie a former EMT and firefighter said:
“Usually I have to wake him up in the morning, but I heard him yell, ‘Mom! Fire!’ If he had not been there at that exact moment, my house would’ve gone up in flames. This was not a coincidence. This was a blessing.”
Nick used fire safety training he had learned in school.
“I was focused, and I tried not to scream,” he said. “I remembered to be calm, and to get everyone out of the house.”
The paper reports that Nick grabbed the fan and threw it out the front door, stopping the fire.
Fire marshal Robert Burkhardt said:
“His actions prevented injury to himself and to his mother. I’m very proud of him. I’m happy to see the education we’re giving these kids, it worked. He retained it.”
Jackie said that when children like Nick, who have Asperger’s Syndrome, get excited, they can lose control.
She ends by saying:
“Every day I have to fight with him to wake him up for school. The way he acted so calm and so cool, it’s a big deal. He’s my hero.”
The full article by Andy Polhamus in the South Jersey Times can be viewed here