VALATIE – County fire officials and representatives of the Stuyvesant Fire Company, the Niverville Fire Department and the town of Stuyvesant visited Ichabod Crane Primary School on Friday, May 29 to honor a third grade hero.
Representatives from the Columbia County Fire Chiefs Association, as well as town of Stuyvesant and school officials joined the third grade class body to commend eight-year-old Caritey Taylor, who is credited with saving seven members of her family from a fire that destroyed their home in early morning hours of April 12.
“We are very proud,” said an emotional Shauna Cowan, Caritey’s mother, noting that the electrical fire started in Caritey’s room and spread quickly. According to Wally Engel, director of Fire Chiefs Association and Ghent Assistant Fire Chief, Caritey reported waking up after feeling heat and discovered her room, as well as a Barbie doll next to her head, was on fire. Despite sustaining burns on her head and hand, she went upstairs and woke everyone up.
“Moments later smoke and fire were through the entire building,” said Mr. Engel.
Mark Sheline, president of Columbia County Fire Chiefs Association, said quick thinking under pressure is what fire officials hope to instill in all children through programs it operates in schools and in the community. He said thousands of kids every year go through the programs, which include a portable safety trailer that simulates fire conditions and helps demonstrate how to safely exit a house fire.
The Niverville Fire Department facilitates fire safety at ICC schools.
“Our program is self-funding and free of charge to everyone in the county,” said Mr. Sheline.
The Fire Chiefs, as well as members of the community, have also helped the family replace belongings lost in the blaze. The family is staying with relatives until they find a new home.