Parents

Boy hailed as a hero after rescuing his 11-month-old sister from house fire

At just 8 years old, Harrison Holt is being hailed as a hero.

When a raging fire engulfed his Dummer, New Hampshire, home on July 23, he helped carry his 11-month-old sister to safety.

New Hampshire Union Leader
A fire on July 23 engulfed the Holt family's home; luckily, no one was injured.

As first reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader, John Holt, the father of Harrison, Patrick, 5, and Marie, 11 months, recalled how quickly things escalated that day.

Holt, a professor at White Mountains Community College, had finished mowing the lawn and parked the lawnmower in the family's barn. Twenty minutes later, he saw smoke coming from the room that linked the barn to the house.

"I ran out, threw open the door and grabbed the fire extinguisher," Holt told TODAY.

After futile attempts to put out the fire, he ran to alert his children to call 911 and get out of the house.

Holt said as he continued to try and put out the flames, he was surprised to see his 8-year-old son stay calm and collected. Harrison waited by the family's designated emergency meeting spot — a big oak tree right outside the family's property — and spoke with a 911 dispatcher on the phone with one hand, while holding his baby sister with the other.

"He was standing there as cool as the other side of the pillow, just chatting with 911," Holt said.

New Hampshire Union Leader
The two-story home was reduced to a pile of charred remains.

As a result of his heroism, the boy was named an honorary member of the Milan-Dummer Fire Department by fire chief Bud Chapman, who surprised Harrison by awarding him with a real firefighter badge, a gift that Chapman plans to customize by engraving Harrison's name on it.

John Holt
Harrison Holt, center, posed with siblings Patrick, 5, and Marie, 11 months.

Although the Holts have a lot of rebuilding to do, the family has received a huge outpouring of support from the Dummer community.

"There are hundreds of people that we don't even know sending us gifts, clothes and gift cards," Holt said. "It's been absolutely crazy, to be honest with you."

Holt and his wife, Heather, who was away at the time of the fire, say they see their son's heroism and the community's compassion as an important silver lining.

"It's been phenomenal," Holt said. "Believe it or not, it's been a really good week and a half."

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