Firefighters and police officers pulled their trucks and cruisers onto an area school playground Friday not in an emergency rush but to honor a young boy who recently saved his family from a fatal apartment fire.
Robert Juarez Ramirez, a second grader at Lakota’s Shawnee Early Childhood School, joined his proud mother and brother in shedding tears as he was lauded by West Chester Twp. and school officials for his recent, life-saving heroics.
Last month’s fire at Meadow Ridge apartment complex left two children dead and two seriously injured.
The 6-year-old Ramirez, whose family lived in an adjacent apartment, used his fire response training taught at school to alert his family and quickly lead them to safety with his swift actions being caught by police officer’s body camera.
“In light of the tragedy that occurred that day, one young man applied the fire safety messages that West Chester Fire Department has continuously preached,” said Fire Department Bureau Chief Scott Brooks in a released statement announcing his special school day honors Friday.
“We should all be proud of him and make this a special day for him,” said Brooks.
West Chester Twp. Fire Chief Rick Prinz said before the surprise ceremony “Robert is a hero.”
“He utilized the skills he learned in school that the fire department taught him about what to do in the event there is a fire. He not only paid attention but he implemented and practiced those skills at home and when the disaster hit, he knew exactly what to do to be able to save his family,” he said.
Ramirez’s praise was echoed by Shawnee Principal Traci Hummer, who called the young man out of the assembled crowd on the playground to present him with a safety award.
“A student here helped save his family. He heard a fire alarm and he knew exactly what to do and he helped his family out of their apartment and into the front yard to a meeting space,” said Hummer.
“Because of what we practice here at Shawnee, he knew exactly what to do and how to save his family.”
Ramirez stood next to his family and when handed the microphone, wiped his tears and gave thanks.
“Thank you to my teacher for helping me do this and thank you to all my friends who teach me how. When I was in kindergarten, I didn’t know what to do in a fire drill. But but now that I’m six I knew what to do,” Ramirez said, as his classmates applauded and he took in his mother’s proud hugs.