Fire Safety Seminar Helps 6-Year-Old Escape Burning Home

Tuesday, November 24th 2009, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- How do you stay calm if you wake up to a house on fire? It's a simple lesson that can be lost in the heat of the moment.

One little girl is thanking an 11-year-old Dalmatian, Sparkles, for giving some life-saving safety tips.

Six-year-old Angelica Riggins' house caught fire earlier this year.

Sparkles was part of last November's safety seminar to the kids at Clinton Elementary School. Angelica was sitting in the crowd, paying close attention.

"It's a very scary situation for the children, if their house is on fire, and there's smoke in the house, and they're coughing, it's a panic situation," said Matt Weeks, Tulsa Fire Department.

Angelica says Sparkles helped keep her calm under pressure that night in January.

"It means that you get on the ground and start crawling out of the house to your safe place," said 6-year-old Angelica Riggins.

After crawling outside, she ran to her neighbor's house for help. Firefighters had to rescue her dad, who suffered burns on his back. Firefighters say Angelica likely saved her father's life.

The same firefighters who rescued Angelica's dad were back at Clinton, to deliver the same message to a new group of students.

"It's very cool that she was able to act in the correct response, and it shows that the education is working for these students," said Matt Weeks.

Sparkles is 77 in human years. Because of Sparkles' old age, Tuesday's fire seminar was his last before he retires. But firefighters say if there's another house fire, his lessons will live on.