SAFETY HARBOR — Kie'shawn Johnson's face lit up with a big smile when a blue ball cap with the Safety Harbor Fire Department's patch on the front was placed on his head Monday at a City Commission meeting.
He smiled, too, when he was handed a blue fleece sweatshirt with the Fire Department's patch on one side and his name on the other.
The 10-year-old was recognized Monday by the Fire Department and City Commission for his quick thinking during a house fire in April. He helped five relatives, including three siblings, get out of the house.
"If those kids would not have gotten out of that house when they did, they would have easily been overcome with smoke," Fire Marshal Richard Brock said. "If it wasn't for the smoke detector and Kie'shawn knowing what to do, we may have had a different outcome."
At about 6:30 a.m. April 16, Kie'shawn awoke to the smell of smoke in the family's home at 665 11th Place. Then he heard the smoke alarm blasting.
Kie'shawn, who was 9 years old at the time, immediately alerted everyone that the house was on fire. His three younger siblings, along with his two aunts, escaped without injury.
"I was just doing what I felt was right," said Kie'shawn, a student at Safety Harbor Elementary School. "We went out the back of the house and walked around to the front."
The fire was caused by a faulty dryer, Brock said.
The family hasn't yet moved back home. They are living temporarily in Pasco County.
Mayor Andy Steingold praised Kie'shawn's "alertness" and "bravery."
Kie'shawn's mother, Letesha Hall, 27, smiled throughout the presentation.
"I'm very proud of him," said Hall, who had gone to work the morning of the fire. "It's good for him to be rewarded."
Kie'shawn was asked what it was like standing in front of the City Commission and being called a hero.
"It felt good," he said, and smiled.
Contact Demorris A. Lee at (727) 445-4174 or [email protected]