Eleven-year-old Rockwall hero honored for quick thinking during fire

Rockwall Fire Department presents ‘Citizen in Action’ Award

City of Rockwall volunteer firefighter Brandon Watson (left) and Fire Marshal Ariana Hargrove (right) congratulate Jacob Perdue (second from left) for putting fire safety rules into action during a fire at his home. Shown with Jacob are his sister Annie and his dad Joe.

(ROCKWALL-January 28, 2013) Eleven-year-old Jacob Perdue remembered what he learned from City of Rockwall firefighters and put it into action when faced with a fire at his home. Most importantly, he remembered to remain calm.

Jacob was recently honored at a meeting of the City Council by the Rockwall Fire Department with the Citizen in Action Award. It recognizes a person using quick-thinking, courage and proper use of 9-1-1 in an emergency to save life and property.

A fifth grader at Cecilia Hayes Elementary School, Jacob made the 911 call to report a fire emergency at his home when his father’s phone quit working.

The Rockwall County Sheriff’s Communication Center dispatcher noted that the young man remained calm and was able to provide dispatch with the address. Jacob also stayed on the phone with the dispatcher and explained exactly what the emergency was. He even instructed his dad to get out of the burning home, telling him not to go back in once they were safely outside.

But the first thing he did?

“I grabbed our dog,” Jacob said.

Crediting firefighters’ visits at his school several times a year with his quick action, Jacob added, “They always said to be calm.”

Returning from a camping trip to an empty home with his father Joe Perdue and his grandfather Sam Vick, Jacob explained that his dad was going to fix lunch when he noticed smoke coming from the bathroom. What appeared to be a malfunctioning fan turned into an electrical fire that Jacob said started spreading “really fast.”

Fortunately, his mom Annie, his sister Kylie (age 9) and grandmother Nanette Vick were not home at the time of the fire.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, smoke was coming from the back of the house. Thanks to Jacob’s quick thinking, the fire was contained to the back bathroom – a great example that shows kids pay attention to the department’s fire prevention training classes for K-6 graders in the Rockwall school district, said Fire Chief Mark Poindexter.

“Despite his young age, Jacob displayed true bravery maintaining his composure in a potentially life-threatening situation,” said Chief Poindexter. “He showed how important it is to stay calm and follow correct procedures.”

Submitted by Judy Evans.

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