Young man honored for role in helping stop house fire damage

Matt Kandrick and Kael Gilbert (left and second from left) were honored at the Oct. 2 meeting of the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors for actions which curbed the damage of house fire and assisted an endanger neighbor. Valley Forge Fire Department Chief Jason Cole presents Kael with an Award of Appreciation as VFFC’s Evan Taylor (right) looks on.

At the Oct. 2 meeting of the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors meeting, Jason Cole, Chief of the Valley Forge Fire Company, honored Kael Gilbert, a Schuylkill Elementary fourth-grader, for actions which very well may have saved his neighbor’s life.

On Sept. 9, Kael heard smoke alarms coming from a house in his neighborhood and quickly alerted his neighbor, Matt Kandrick, about the alarm.

Kael and Mr. Kandrick discovered the source of the alarm as being a neighbor’s house on the 1300 block of West Evergreen Drive, and saw a large volume of smoke coming from their neighbor’s door and roof.

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Mr. Kandrick called 911 and entered the home to find an unattended pot of food smoldering on an active fire. Mr. Kandrick then alerted the home’s occupant and together they contained the fire.

Upon arrival at the scene, Valley Forge Fire Department’s Evan Taylor credited Kael for taking actions that averted what could have been a fatal incident.

The Schuylkill Township and the Valley Forge Fire Company presented Kael with an Award of Appreciation for his actions, and Chief Cole complimented Kael and Mr. Kandrick for their “spirit of community, bravery and selflessness”.

Following presentation, Kael said that “it felt really good to be in front of that crowd.”

He credited the fire prevention lessons he learned in school for giving him the awareness of what to do in the face of the Sept. 9 emergency.

“Kids in my school have said that they already know what to do, but they still need to pay attention because stuff like this can happen any time.”