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2011-04-14

Four year old's quick action saves family home

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Heroes may loom large and come in all kinds of exotic regalia, but, in the end, size and elaborate costuming has nothing to do with bravery and quick thinking - as a couple of pint-sized Bandera County heroes proved recently.
According to County Fire Marshal John Stith, the morning of Friday, April 8, Caleb Davis, 4, helped avert what could have amounted to a tragedy. "He's a great little boy," Stith said. "Caleb's family should be very proud of him. Without his prompt action, this could have been a very bad fire."
Little Caleb, it seems, was outside the Davis family home on Falling Star Lane, just off Highway 173 South, when he wandered into the attached garage. Caleb reportedly found the garage filled with smoke and saw flames in the corner.
"He ran back into the house and told his mother about the fire," Stith said, marveling at the youngster's presence of mind. "Thick smoke was about halfway down from the garage ceiling and there were large flames shooting four-feet high in the corner, coming out of where a hot water heater was located."
Heeding her son's warning, Julie Davis immediately evacuated her four boys, who range in age from five years to four months, from the house. An accomplished multi-tasker, she simultaneously grabbed a fire extinguisher from the kitchen and called 9-1-1 emergency dispatch to report the blaze.
While Calvary, 5, "corralled all the children, keeping them out of harm's way," Julie Davis entered the garage and extinguished the flames. Shortly after that, Bandera Volunteer Fire Department and EMS arrived on the scene.
"Everything just took about three minutes," Davis recalled in an interview. "I'm very thankful for what Caleb and Calvary did."
Like all children, her kindergarten and pre-K home-schooled brood is fascinated with superheroes, Davis said. "They're always playing superheroes. They're favorites are Iron Man, Spider Man and Superman. Now I have two real 'superheroes' of my own."
According to Stith, Caleb's quick action prevented the family's home from being rapidly engulfed in flames. Combustibles, he said, were being stored in the garage. "An investigation pointed to an electrical malfunction in the water heater's thermostat," Stith added.
As for Julie Davis, she estimates damages from the blaze will total "about $350 - just the price of a new hot water heater."
Describing his actions with enthusiasm, the "4 year old of the hour" said, "I ran inside the garage and saw the whole garage looking like it was on fire so ran back inside (the house) and told my mama."
Stith presented Caleb with a firefighting certificate for bravery at the family church on Wednesday, April 13.
Julie and Chad Davis have lived in Bandera just a year, relocating to the Hill Country from Corpus Christi.
For his part, Caleb said the superheroes he admires most are "God and Jesus."

Pictured: Caleb Davis, 4, posed with first responders who arrived on the scene of a garage fire, EMS David Poteet and Max Konz, who also serves as chief of the Bandera Volunteer Fire Department, Fire Marshal John Stith and firefighters, Cody Burns and Alex Invergo. Caleb's quick thinking might have saved his family's home.