Aberdeenshire schoolboy’s quick thinking reduced the spread of fire at his home

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A schoolboy Cub Scout has been recognised for his bravery and quick thinking after an early morning fire broke out within his home in Insch in Aberdeenshire.
Cameron Barnes, aged nine, is to be awarded a Chief Officer Commendation Certificate from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
After discovering the fire had taken hold in the kitchen as his family slept, Cameron knew to keep the door closed to prevent the fire from spreading and then calmly woke up his parents Julie and Mick, as well as his sister Hannah. Mick then called 999 for help.
The family’s two cats, Merlin and Yuki, and two dogs, Elke and Monty, also survived the fire that happened in April 2020.
Cameron said: “I woke up one day and went to get my breakfast. I could see smoke everywhere through the kitchen door. I didn’t want to go in so I went to wake up Hannah and Mum and Dad.
“The firefighters gave us bottles of water and offered us sweets and crisps. The ambulance people brought us blankets as the wind was cold.
“Our neighbour brought us bacon rolls and hot chocolate. I felt better after that. The firefighters saved our house and gave Hannah and me a Teddy Bear.”
Watch Commander Stewart Murray, who attended the scene, said: “After the fire had been extinguished we realised that due to the internal door remaining closed this halted the fire progressing throughout the building. This kept the damage to other parts of the family home to smoke and water damage.
“Everyone at Insch Fire Station is so pleased that this smart young lad is to receive a commendation.”
In a letter to Cameron, Chief Officer Martin Blunden described the youngster as ‘an inspiration to us all’.
He also wrote that he would like to present the award to Cameron in person at a special event ‘once we are into some sort of normality again’.
The Barnes family had lived in their home for 16 years before the fire. They are now staying in temporary accommodation in Inverurie until the damage is repaired.
It’s not only SFRS that has recognised Cameron’s brave efforts. He is also to receive the Scout Gilt Cross for Gallantry.
Mum Julie said: “We are so proud that Cameron knew exactly what to do. The training he had from the Scouts really did hit home. It’s so important to teach young people about fire safety.
“These awards are something he’ll remember forever. It’s great to see him get a pat on the back for doing the right thing.
“Fire is such an awful thing and you never think it’ll happen to you. It’s catastrophic and takes hold so quickly.
“Although we were all pretty stressed at the time, Cameron was amazed to see the fire engines up close and to watch the hive of activity as firefighters put out the fire.”
Scouts Regional Commissioner Dougie Simmers commented: “This incident could easily have spiralled into a much greater issue if Cameron had not acted in the way he did, by raising the alarm allowing the family to escape the house safely. He’s a fantastic young person and we are immensely proud of him for the way he handled this situation.”

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