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Morrow youngster honored for calm reaction to home fire
by Bill Baldowski
March 07, 2013 03:29 PM | 1293 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Showing the awards and honors bestowed upon five-year-old Ja-siah Cooley by Morrow city and fire department officials were, from left, Ja-siah's grandmother, Marilyn Lavender-Cooley, Ja-siah Cooley and Morrow Fire Chief Mark Herendeen.
Showing the awards and honors bestowed upon five-year-old Ja-siah Cooley by Morrow city and fire department officials were, from left, Ja-siah's grandmother, Marilyn Lavender-Cooley, Ja-siah Cooley and Morrow Fire Chief Mark Herendeen.
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Five-year-old Morrow resident Ja-siah Cooley likes all the comic book super heroes, especially “Spiderman,” “Captain America,” and “Iron Man.”

However, when asked who his favorite superhero is, a broad smile crosses Ja-siah’s face as he said, without reservation, “me.”

The youngster, who lives with his grandmother, Marilyn Lavender-Cooley, has the entire Morrow Fire Department and Morrow Fire Chief Mark Herendeen, M.B.A., backing him up in that claim, especially after Ja-siah showed a calm presence of mind and knowledge of how to escape a home fire which occurred at his grandmother’s home last January.

For his heroic actions, which resulted in his grandmother and him escaping the home fire safely, Ja-siah was awarded a proclamation from the Morrow City Council, a “Certificate of Heroism” from Herendeen and, the youngster’s personal favorite, a scale model of a Morrow fire engine, complete with extending ladder.

According to Lavender-Cooley, Ja-siah, who attends the Clayton County Head Start Daycare Center, was sleeping in his room as she prepared dinner in the kitchen.

Ja-siah’s room was being heated by a space heater.

.She suddenly heard the smoke detector sound and thought, at first, it was part of a television show as the TV was on in another room, although only she and her grandson were home.

“When I realized it was coming from one of the smoke detectors inside my house, I ran down the hallway to Ja-siah’s room but he met me in the hall as I reached his door,” Lavender-Cooley said.

In a calm, clear voice, Ja-siah told his grandmother that the space heater in his room was on fire and that they needed to exit her house immediately and call the fire department.

Although she followed Ja-siah outside and made sure he was safe and away from the house, Lavender-Cooley reentered her home and tried to extinguish the space heater fire with a fire extinguisher.

“Three times I had gotten the flames to subside with the fire extinguisher but they erupted again,” she said.

“After the third time, I knew I had to get out of the house and find my grandson.”

Herendeen said it took less than three minutes for firefighters to arrive and extinguish the blaze which, the chief said, resulted in minable damage and was contained to one room.

“Although we are all proud of what Ja-siah did and that he didn’t panic and had the presence of mind with both of them getting safely out of the house, I am also proud of the fact that Ms. Lavender-Cooley had working smoke detectors in her home and that they were maintained correctly and working properly,” the chief said.

“This is certainly a credit to the grandmother as this fire could have been so much worse.”

Ironically, Ja-siah said, the week of the fire at his home was the same week his daycare providers had been teaching the children about fire safety.

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