When Ryder and Cooper Fiske-Kneafsey awoke in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2019, they smelled and saw smoke. They immediately ran to awaken their father. When he told them it was probably just exhaust from the dryer vent, they insisted he get up to check it out.
When boys' suspicion was confirmed -- there was a fire in the basement of the family's Merion home -- they made sure that they, their parents and their dog, Sandy, all escaped the home and that the fire department was called.
The Lower Merion Fire Department honored Ryder, who is a fourth grader at Merion Elementary School, and Cooper, who is a sixth grader at Bala Cynwyd Middle School, for their quick thinking at a ceremony in Ryder's classroom on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020.
Lower Merion Chief Fire Officer Charles J. McGarvey Sr. praised the boys for remembering what they had learned during Fire Prevention Week. They got everyone out of the home, shutting doors behind them to stop the blaze's spread, and made sure the fire department was called quickly. In addition to giving them a written citation, McGarvey offered them scholarships to attend the LMFD Youth Firefighter Camp this summer.
The boys' parents, Amy Fiske and Dolan Kneafsey, had praise for their sons and also for the firefighters, who not only extinguished the blaze, but also calmed the family's fears and helped them through the aftermath. The family spent about five weeks after the fire in a hotel and is now living in an apartment, as they decide whether to rebuild their fire-damaged home or move elsewhere.
For a slide show of the recognition ceremony and some photos from the fire scene, please click below: