Boy, 10, saves family from fire
David Everton escaped his burning Grass Valley home Thursday with just the clothes he was wearing and a pocket knife he received on Christmas.
But not before he alerted his parents, brother and sister, and hustled them to safety.
“I was surprised I didn’t panic,” the 10-year-old said as his family regrouped at the Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City in a room paid for by the Red Cross.
“He was always my top dog, but he’s a special kid,” said David’s father, Rich, a carpenter whose tools and newly built workshop were destroyed in the predawn blaze.
Nevada County Consolidated and Grass Valley firefighters responded at 3:38 a.m. to 11156 Cliffs Place, near the corner of McCourtney Road and Brighton Street. The home was engulfed in flames when crews arrived, but the family – Rich; wife, Margie; David; Joseph, 14; and Jessica, 16 – was unharmed.
David, a fifth-grader at Scotten School, awoke in the living room to a burning couch, with the drapes quickly following.
“I just kinda kept low and walked down to my brother’s room, and then my sister woke up,” he said. His parents also awoke, and Rich Everton briefly tried battling the flames with a garden hose as David comforted his mother.
“He was calm as a cucumber,” Rich Everton said of David.
A cause wasn’t immediately known, but Consolidated Chief Tim Fike said no foul play is suspected. Damage to the 800-square-foot house was estimated at $50,000, the lost contents at $20,000.
Almost everything was destroyed, including most of the family’s Christmas gifts. The family was renting, and their belongings weren’t insured, Rich Everton said.
“My sister lost a lot of clothes, and my skateboard was all melted,” David said. “The only thing I saved was my pocketknife.”
Rich Everton found a box of family photos with slight water damage.
Besides a short-term motel stay, the Red Cross is providing the Evertons with food, clothing and short-term housing while the family plans its next move.
“I’m sure we’ll work something out. We’re pretty self-sufficient,” Rich Everton said.
As for David, his early-morning actions were taking time to sink in.
“I’m scared of fire now,” he said. “Once I got out of the house, I kinda panicked a little bit.”
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