TUPELO – One Tupelo teen’s cool head and calm reaction saved her family during a Fourth of July fire.
Brittany Clay, 15, was asleep at 1 a.m. on July 4 when the shouts of a family friend woke her.
“A friend of our family was in the kitchen when the fire happened and I could hear where he said there was a fire so I jumped up and all I could see was flames,” Clay said. “My first thought was to call 911 because the fire was really bad.”
The 911 dispatcher who answered Brittany’s call, Tabitha Nichols, said her ability to take direction and answer questions in the midst of the flames saved her family.
“It can get very overwhelming and Brittany did very good,” Nichols said. “When someone is losing their house, they’re obviously upset. She was very calm, answered every question and never lost track.”
Nichols said Brittany’s ability to remain calm vastly improved the fire department’s response time.
When Brittany called, she informed the dispatcher that three other people, including her grandfather who has trouble walking, were in the home.
Nichols directed Brittany to get everyone out of the house and help her grandfather.
Brittany took everyone out the back door, telling them to stay away from the front of the house where the fire was.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton presented her with a plaque on behalf of the city, fire department and Lee County E-911.
“Here at the fire department, I work with 92 heroes and I know some other people who are heroes and it’s my honor to say I know you and you are a hero,” said Tupelo Fire Chief Thomas Walker.