When a slow cooker in his kitchen caught fire on Halloween, Wesley Alig used skills he learned in Oak Ridge’s Junior Police Academy (JPA) to successfully operate a fire extinguisher. Wesley, a 13-year-old student at Jefferson Middle School, is a graduate of the 2018 JPA class.
The incident happened at the Alig family’s home on Heritage Drive in Oak Ridge. Wesley told first responders he heard a popping noise coming from the slow cooker. When he walked into the kitchen to check, he saw flames on the stovetop.
Wesley immediately grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed the stove and countertop, extinguishing the fire before flames could spread or cause additional damage. Wesley then called 911 and got himself and a pet safely out of the house where he waited for firefighters.
Moments later, responding emergency crews confirmed the fire was out and that no one was hurt. Their investigation determined the fire to be accidental, the result of a burner that was unintentionally turned on under the slow cooker. The kitchen area suffered minor damage.
“What Wesley was able to do in a stressful situation is a perfect example of why we host these special events for our local kids,” explained ORFD Chief Darryl Kerley. “Accidents happen, and Wesley remembered his training when it mattered most.”
In recognition of Wesley’s actions, Oak Ridge Fire Department personnel presented him with their first-ever Outstanding Contribution to Fire Prevention Award during Thursday’s ceremony at Fire Station #3. Wesley took a ride in a fire engine and thanked Oak Ridge first responders for the opportunity to learn fire safety and other skills through the JPA program.
For additional information, please contact the Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520.