Sunday, October 19, 2003

'Little hero' saves neighbors

Boy, 11, and other kids act quickly during fire

By Stephenie Steitzer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WESTWOOD - When fire broke out on the third floor of a Harrison Avenue apartment building Saturday afternoon, 11-year-old Edward Tarrance sprang into action.

First, he banged on doors on all three floors to warn residents. Then, he went down into the yard and joined other children to scream out more warnings.

Finally, he dragged an old mattress from a Dumpster so a couple of trapped residents could jump to safety.

Had Edward not seen the thick, black smoke billowing out of the living room of a third-floor apartment at 2505 Harrison Ave., residents say they fear the sleeping tenants, including a 4-month-old girl who was dropped into a blanket to safety, would not have escaped.

"I told him he was our little hero today," resident Diane Mack, 44, said.

Edward ran through the building about 4 p.m., banging on people's doors to alert them to the fire.

When one man and woman on the third floor woke up, they couldn't get out because the fire was blocking their door, Cincinnati District Fire Chief Glenn Coleman said. That's when they tossed their baby girl onto a blanket the children were holding open and then jumped onto the old mattress the boy found.

Coleman said the 34-year-old man and 23-year-old woman, whose names were not released, were taken to University Hospital for minor leg injuries. The baby was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to be examined.

Edward said he had been playing at a neighbor's house when he went home to change his shoes. When he left again, he saw the smoke coming out of his neighbor's apartment.

"I'm just glad they are all right," said Edward, as tears welled up in his eyes.

Coleman said the building sustained about $10,000 in damage. The cause is under investigation.

Firefighters had been fighting another blaze just a few miles away on Acosta Avenue when the Harrison Avenue fire started. Coleman said nobody was injured by that fire, which caused about $30,000 in damage.

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