Best practices for preventing fires at home
A Beaufort family preparing for dinner last week is thanking their quick-thinking teenager for saving them from potential disaster.
Zahri Boyle, 15, was preheating the oven at her family’s home in Mossy Oaks Village apartments on June 29 when she noticed a spark. The oven began filling with smoke. She grabbed a fire extinguisher from under the kitchen sink and unleashed it.
Smoke continued to fill the kitchen, and Zahri’s mother, Lakesha Boyle, called firefighters as a precaution. The family, including Zahri’s younger siblings and a guest, evacuated the building until help arrived.
“Her quick actions kept it from being any worse,” Lakesha Boyle said. “I said it’s better to call the fire department than to try to figure it out on her own.”
The fire had been extinguished when firefighters arrived, said Ross Vezin, battalion chief of training and education at Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department.. Firefighters used exhaust fans to clear smoke from the apartment and later credited Zahri publicly.
“She is our HERO tonight!” the department wrote in a Facebook post.
It was the second incident firefighters dealt with in the same weekend they were stressing the importance of proper safety equipment.
A fire on a stove in Shell Pointe Apartments was extinguished by a commercial hood, which is installed in each unit, Vezin said.
Boyle said her family had discussed fire safety in the past, although not recently. Zahri, a student at Whale Branch Early College High School, has also learned about fire safety and prevention at school.
The oven will have to be replaced, but there was no other damage, Boyle said.
“It was really over before it got started,” she said.
It’s important to keep an extinguisher in plain sight, Vezin said. Firefighters offer training on how to use fire extinguishers, and anyone who needs a smoke detector can call the department to have them installed free.
“Everyone thinks they know how to use them,” Vezin said, “but when it comes down to it, not everyone has used one before.”