On October 1 of this year 2 youngsters were playing with fire in a small vacant travel trailer when a explosion occurred. One of the boys, aged 8 was quite seriously injured in the explosion. During interviews by fire officials the boy expressed that he wanted to tell his story to his classmates so that they would not suffer the same.
James Lilburn of the Bieber Fire Department and Mark Evans, Big Valley Schools Superintendent and the boys parents agreed to conduct 2 school assemblies at Big Valley Schools. The purpose of these was to present fire safety information to children at the Primary school in Adin and at the Intermediate school in Bieber.
Presenting basic fire safety in this manner was particularly effective because the injured boy was a classmate and students knew that he had been injured but had not seen him since the fire. They got a chance to actually see him still in bandages, learn about his pain, and how his bandages must be changed 3 or 4 times a day. Later, the students got to ask him questions about his experience.
Mr Lilburn lectured the children on basic fire safety such as "STOP DROP and ROLL" and what to do if they find matches or cigarette lighters in the street. Mick Byington of Bieber Fire Dept. in yellow fire suit stood behind as Mr Lilburn lectured. Mr. Lilburn then gave the children an opportunity to ask questions about the accident. The questions asked were very serious with no laughter or giggling which indicated the they took this lecture seriously. Mr Lilburn stressed that this assembly was not to reward the boy for his illegal act, but to let everyone know that playing with fire is dangerous and that one local student was very lucky to be still alive.
It is commendable that the parents of this child agreed to share the incident with school children rather than hide in shame. If the assemblies save one other child from a fire injury, it will be worth the effort.
Previous articles about this incident can be seen by clicking on: