GREENVILLE – In the early morning hours of April 19, a local family awakened to the smell of smoke. The family made it out of the house safely, but things could have turned out much differently if it wasn’t for nine-year-old Sophia Stoner. For her action, Sophia was presented with the Smoke Dog Award from the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office during the Tuesday meeting of Greenville City Council.
Shortly after 6 a.m. on April 19, Sophia heard the smoke alarm sounding at her 113 Palm Drive home. According to her mother, Joanne, Sophia woke up her parents and her brother to get them out of the house. According to Greenville Fire Chief Russ Thompson, Sophia’s actions followed the training his department gives in their fire and life safety education class in schools and throughout the community. Not only did she wake up her family, but her father, Eric, said she also touched closed doors to make sure they weren’t hot to the touch before they went through them. When Joanne and Eric emerged from the house they found their children, Sophia and Max, at the mailbox – their pre-determined meeting place. “She’s amazing,” said her mother.
Joanne shared their family had practiced their fire safety plan a few weeks prior to the fire and Sophia carried it out just like they had planned. The family continues to run through their fire safety plans every couple of weeks.
“This is the type of education that we are teaching our kids in our fire and life safety education in our schools and throughout the community,” said Chief Thompson.
Joining Thompson in presenting the Smoke Dog Award was State Fire Marshal Asst. Chief Richard Palmer, fire prevention bureau. He directed his comments first to Sophia and then to her family, “Sophia, you’ve done a wonderful thing by getting your family out and I think you know how important that is. We talk about smoke alarms in our business every day. Smoke alarms are so very important. The whole family is to be commended that there were smoke alarms in the place and that they were well maintained and Sophia listened to what she heard and made sure the family got out safely.”
In addition to receiving a certificate signed by State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey and Chief Thompson, Sophia also received a Smoke Dog stuffed animal.
Upon receiving the award, Greenville City Council was joined by guests in the gallery in giving Sophia a standing ovation.
The fire was believed to be electrical in nature and Eric said they continue to be very conscience of fire safety. At Sophia’s urging, the family makes sure things are unplugged each night before they go to bed.
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