By Jason A. Smith
Patrick Henry High School student, Kayla Ingram, said a recent scare in her home has taught her a valuable lesson about fire safety.
"Fire is nothing to play with," said Ingram, 14. "It's really serious."
The teenager was honored, recently, by the Henry County Fire Department, for saving her four siblings from a fire in her home on Nottingham Court in Stockbridge.
The incident occurred around 2 p.m., on Nov. 2. The teenager said she was at home with her three sisters -- Brianna, 12, and twin, six-year-olds, Kristen and Kaitlyn -- and her brother, Beau, 7.
Kayla Ingram said her uncle, Dana Martin, had put out a cigarette in a trash bag, and taken it outside, shortly before she sensed something was wrong. "I was in my room, and I started to smell smoke," said Ingram. "I was not even out of my front door, and I could see the flames through the window."
Henry County's Division Chief of Fire Prevention Joe Kelley, said his findings were identical to Ingram's. "Cigarette materials were dumped into a trash can, and they were not cooled down enough," said Kelley. "They caught up what was inside."
Ingram, who learned about fire safety when she was 7 years old, said she immediately told her siblings to get out of the house, and directed them to a meeting place outside the home. She then called 911, and her mother.
Firefighters arrived about two minutes later, to extinguish the flames.
"I'm glad I caught it when I did, or our house wouldn't even be livable," Ingram said.
The fire department awarded her with a "Hero" certificate this month, during the teen's lunch period at Patrick Henry High School, according to Fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett.
"Henry County Fire Department ... hopes that the fire and life-safety education will continue to impress upon children, and adults alike, to take fire safety seriously," Puckett said. "Kayla followed several points we try to instill through our fire-safety education programs."
The captain added that Ingram "acted with true bravery on a day she will never forget."
Ingram said that, after the fire took place, she and her family made a collective decision to conduct monthly fire drills at their home.