Local Middle School Student Earns Citizen Hero Award

Local News

It’s always hard to keep cool under tense situations, but that wasn’t the case for one sixth-grader who wasn’t afraid to face the heat.

There can be a lot of pressure along with being the new kid at school, but not as much as dealing with a fire in your own home.

That was the case for sixth-grader Fernando Galero, who was the first one to call 911 when he caught a whiff of smoke just a floor below him.

“We are here today to honor a special young man who did something extraordinary,” Fire Captain, Chris Irsfeld said.

For his bravery during an apartment fire Galero was awarded the Citizen Hero Award.

“The Citizen Hero Award is a way for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue can recognize and honor citizens in our town; individuals who go above and beyond,” Irsfeld said.

“My Mom was here and all my friends were clapping at me and all that stuff,” Galero said.

Firefighters were quick to the scene.

“We got there. There was a fire in the building without working smoke detectors and quite a few people actually in the building,” Irsfeld said.

Thanks to Fernando being quick to the call.

“My Mom was like, ‘What happened; why are you calling?’ and I said, ‘Because downstairs the bed is getting on fire,’ and she just started packing up stuff and we just got inside the car,” Galero said.

“His actions really helped us out from the Fire Department standpoint and potentially saved people from injury,” Irsfeld said.

If anyone ever finds themselves in similar situation the best thing you can do is take action.

“If you see something that you feel isn’t, uh, something that is taking place that is out of the ordinary or, in this instance, the smell of smoke, or something’s not right, or something’s burning I’m not sure what it is, is to pick up that phone and call; to speak up, to say something, to be brave, to be that person who can take charge of a situation,” Irsfeld said.

“I would just tell them to relax. If they see a situation like that, start packing up and put food in your bag or in a backpack. Put clothes and food and some jackets if it’s cold and call 911,” Galero said.

If Fernando’s actions prove anything, it’s that when times get tough, anyone can step up, take action, and be a hero.

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