Derry teen credited with saving home from kitchen fire
Nathanial Mejia was home alone, upstairs taking a nap about 3:20 p.m. when smoke detectors throughout his 8 Belmont Terrace house went off, waking him, according to fire officials. His mother had left a few minutes before to pick up other children at school.
Mejia went downstairs where he encountered a significant amount of smoke and saw the stove, its hood and cabinets above it in flames. He immediately grabbed a kitchen fire extinguisher and used it to put out the blaze.
He then opened windows to get rid of the smoke and took three dogs outside and put them in a family car. His mother arrived home just after he put out the fire and called 911.
Arriving firefighters used hand tools, thermal imaging and a water extinguisher to put out any remaining fire, which was contained to the stove, hood and cabinets.
The fire was accidental and started in the fan motor in the kitchen hood, according to investigators, although they have yet to determine what caused the fan to fail.
Fire officials commended Mejia for his quick action, as well as his parents Edwin and Carmen Mejia, for having working smoke detectors and an extinguisher in their home.
They cautioned, however, that the small extinguishers are limited and will not put out a larger blaze. And, fire officials said, when using a fire extinguisher, make sure the fire is not between you and the exit, and that if the extinguisher does not work, you can immediately exit the building.