Alexandria, VA

An Alexandria three-year-old is being called a hero for alerting his father to a fire alarm going off in a neighboring apartment.

On the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 4, firefighters found that food was left cooking on the stove of an apartment in the Cameron Court of Alexandria complex, and then discovered that the resident of the apartment was experiencing a medical emergency.

“I heard the smoke alarm coming into my house, because someone was cooking,” the boy, Santiago Martin Carmack, told ALXnow.

It turns out that Santiago’s sharp ears ended up saving his neighbor’s life, and on Monday the boy was honored at Fire Station 205 with a certificate of heroism, a medal, a plastic fire hat and a coloring book.

“It was definitely a life-saving intervention,” said AFD Captain Jeff Taylor. “What’s most unique is that everybody — the neighbors to the side, the neighbors above and below and across the street — were all home, but nobody else paid attention. In our day and age, we’ve got a lot of apathy. And nobody really paid attention to a smoke alarm going off except for a three-year-old, who told his dad.”

Santiago’s father “trusted his son and investigated and actually found somebody that really was having an emergency,” Taylor said.

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