PHOENIX, Ariz. (KPHO) — Three Phoenix children who discovered a man in distress in a smoke-filled apartment and ran to get help were given “Citizen Lifesaving Awards” Thursday.
The two 11-year-olds and one 10-year-old were recognized by the Phoenix Fire Department and received a commendation from the National Fire Protection Association.
“You are outstanding citizens of the Valley,” Fire Capt. Ardell Deliz told the boys. “Because of you guys alerting everybody, the gentleman is OK today; his dog is OK. Everybody is very proud of you.”
Justin Gamboa, Lazaro Gaytan, and Isaac Marquez were riding bikes near 15th Avenue and Hatcher Road on Aug. 22 when they heard a smoke detector and smelled something burning. They boys said they looked up to see smoke billowing out of a second-floor unit at the Desert Sands Apartment Complex.
The fifth- and sixth-graders peered into the unit and found a man in his 40s with his dog inside. The man seemed disoriented, so they rode off to get help from the apartment manager.
“The kids here are the true heroes,” said Capt. Dell Rini of the Phoenix Fire Department, who responded to the scene. “Five more minutes without anybody hearing a smoke detector go off, and we would have had another fatality. The smoke was that thick.”
As part of the commendation from the National Fire Protection Association, the boys were each given four tickets to Legoland California.
“I’m very proud. I’m a proud mom right now,” said Miriam Marquez, Isaac’s mom.