Back row left to right: John Wichmon, Kenai Fire Department engineer, and department Captain Eric Wilcox present Mountain View Elementary students Dain, 8, and Makayla Chivers, 11, with a special award for "Doing the Right Thing."
Photo provided by Kenai Fire Dep
Fifth-grader Makayla Chivers and her brother, third-grader Dain Chivers, arrived home from their school bus stop Feb. 22 to find the house filled with what they thought was natural gas fumes.
With their parents away, the kids said they relied on the safety training they received in September from the Kenai Fire Department and their parents, took the family's emergency list and went to their neighbor's house the family's prearranged emergency meeting place.
"I was scared to leave the house, it's a rule to stay inside when our parents are not home," Makayla said. "But I knew we had to get outside. I thought we might die."
"We practice drills at home for fires," Dain said. "This wasn't a fire and it smelled bad."
The kids' aunt was notified and they stayed with her until their mom arrived home later in the evening.
With the help of Enstar, the fire department was able to locate and identify the source of the fumes as a leak in the family's four wheeler that was stored in the garage. The fumes had seeped into the residence through a small access door between the house and the garage.
Kenai Fire Department Capt. Eric Wilcox said by choosing to follow their safety training and remaining calm in the face of possible danger that Dain and Makayla had adverted a potential disaster.
"If it had been natural gas and if they had stayed inside, it could have been a much different outcome," Wilcox said.
He reminds area residents of the need for families to have emergency evacuations plans and that carbon monoxide detectors are now required in all homes.
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