Anthony Jambro, 8, awoke to the smell of smoke about 6 a.m.
The older brother by about eight minutes, he made sure his identical twin, Joseph, was awake, and the two then got Ian O’Dowd, 9, out of bed.
The boys, who were having a sleepover at O’Dowd’s home, had not realized yet that the garage below their room was on fire, but they knew what they had to do.
“Get out of the house,” said Joseph Jambro, following the training he received as a Cub Scout.
The accidental fire in the Blackstock Mill subdivision March 17 caused heavy damage, but the people inside all got out safely thanks to the quick response of the young Scouts.
Thursday night, the Forsyth County Fire Department honored the three boys for their heroic efforts,
Each received a “Good Citizen Award,” as well as the official patch and pin of the department.
Laura Coleman, fire prevention training officer, said the Jambros, both currently in Scouting, and O’Dowd, a former Boy Scout, displayed three core values of the organization in escaping the fire: cooperation, perseverance and, especially, courage.
“I’m so proud of you guys because you were brave,” Coleman said. “They didn’t hide. They got out of the house.”
Battalion Chief Michael Sheuring, who was on scene that day, said the department’s top priority in a fire is “life safety,” which the boys helped with.
“They made sure everybody was out the house,” Sheuring said. “When we arrive … that allows us to get the fire out faster.”
The home remains uninhabitable following the fire damage, but it will be able to be repaired.
Coleman said with the boys sleeping in the room above the fire’s origin, they are lucky to have awakened in time.
“They didn’t even hear a smoke alarm going off,” she said, “which is very fortunate because most people will not wake up to the smell of smoke.”
Coleman recommended keeping a smoke detector with a working battery outside every bedroom in a home and testing them monthly.
She also said a nighttime drill will train kids to respond when the detector sounds.
“Get them used to hearing that sound when it’s not an emergency when it’s not an emergency, and when it is an emergency, the will wake up,” she said. “Studies have shown when you practice it, they know to wake up and they will wake up for it.”
Families should also designate an emergency meeting place outside, Coleman said. And if a friend is sleeping over, let that child know where it is too.
“I bet you guys will ask a lot now, won’t you?” she said.