Barre, VT – Quick thinking 5-year old; Quick acting sprinkler system assist firefighters in store fire

A quick thinking 5-year-old is credited with spotting a fire in downtown Barre that officials say could have been much worse. Meet Gabriel DeJesus, a five-year-old hero. “I saw smoke coming out of a chimney and I knew it was going to be a fire,” said Gabriel. The Barre kindergartener spotted a fire at Bob’s Camera and Video in Barre Saturday night.

“Just going for a drive and he goes, ‘Dad, there’s smoke pouring out of that building,'” said Jaime DeJesus, Gabriel’s dad. “It was a lot, and it was all white and black,” Gabriel said.  The family pulled over for a closer look, and they called 911. “I commend him,” said Barre Fire Dept. Dep. Chief Joseph Aldsworth.  “He’s great. He’s a superhero,” said John Biondolillo, the owner of the building.

Thankfully the shop had closed for the day so no one was inside. The building’s sprinkler system kept the fire contained to the store’s basement until firefighters arrived.  “I was watching all the fire trucks come,”  Gabriel said.  Bob’s Camera and Video is right on Main Street. Fire officials say that if the sprinklers weren’t working, downtown Barre could have seen much worse damage. “It’s in a row of block buildings here, so it would definitely have a potential of loss,” Dep. Chief Aldsworth said.

Investigators are still looking into what caused the fire. They say this fire should remind community members to check their sprinkler systems. “They need to be inspected annually by a reputable company that leaves a sticker,” Dep. Chief Aldsworth said. It also serves as a reminder that kids can make a big difference too.    

“I am super thankful that he saw that. I don’t know what he would have done if he didn’t notice it and tell his parents,” said Kaitlyn Mesler, the owner of Bob’s Camera and Video. When asked what it’s like to save people and businesses, Gabriel responded, “It makes me feel so good.”

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