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A 13-year-old puts out fire at parents’ restaurant

Posted February. 16, 2021 07:25,   

Updated February. 16, 2021 07:25


A fire was reported on Feb. 6 in Gimje, North Jeolla Province. It was reported by a young boy, who informed the firefighters of the situation and location in a calm voice. When fire trucks reached the scene, an elementary school boy was waving his hand to them. The fire had already been extinguished and only residual smoke rising from the scene. It was Jeong Si-yool, who responded quickly to the fire even before the firefighters’ arrival.

The 13-year-old stopped by his parents’ restaurant that day and saw flames and smokes emanating from an outlet near a refrigerator. It was not opening hours and Jeong was the only one at the restaurant. Instead of panicking, he first called his mother and then 119. It could put Jeong in danger since there was a gas pipe and containers of draft beer nearby but he started putting out the fire with a fire extinguisher. Speaking with The Dong-A Ilbo on Monday, Jeong said he was terrified when he saw the smoke but thought he had to put out the fire because there were people on the second and the third floors. The boy added that he would do the same if he were put in the same situation.

The fire could have spread to the houses on the second and the third floor but no casualty was reported thanks to Jeong’s calm actions. “The fire appears to have been caused by a short circuit. It could have turned into a major fire if Jeong did not respond promptly,” said an official from the Jeonbuk Fire Department.

Jeong, whose dream is to become a firefighter, would visit local 119 safety experience center with his parents to learn how to respond to emergency situations, such as using a fire extinguisher and conducting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. The center provides training on fire response procedure and water safety rules via hands-on experience. “I tried to recall what I learned about using a fire extinguisher when putting out the fire,” said Jeong. “I want to be a firefighter and save people in danger.”

“The importance of early education on safety has been stressed once again through the incident,” said an official at the National Fire Agency. “We will continue to expand safety programs and spaces for hands-on experience both for children and adults.”

Seng-Hyun Kang byhuman@donga.com