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Apr142017

10-year-old boy credited with saving grandmother in house fire

Rob Ruch(PLATTESVILLE, Wisc.) -- Tony Ruch was woken up to the sounds of his grandmother yelling for help and the sight of flames inside his family’s Platteville, Wisconsin, home last week.

Tony, 10, followed his instinct to run in search of his dad, Rob Ruch. When he discovered that his dad was not home (he was staying with a friend), Tony said he realized he had to save himself and his grandmother.

“It jumped in mind, ‘OK, no one is here to help me. I have to take control,” Tony told ABC News. “I remember being scared and once I realized that my dad wasn’t there, I had to man up and take control.”

Tony yelled out through the smoke and flames in his dad’s bedroom to Amazon Alexa to call 911. When the automated assistant replied she could not call authorities, Tony ran downstairs to the kitchen to help his grandmother, Joy Hentrich.

Hentrich, 75, has lived with the family for the past six years as she battles health issues, according to her son, Ruch. Hentrich was in the kitchen, where the fire started, trying to contain the flames with water.

“My first priority that was going through my mind was to get my grandmother out and get the fire department,” Tony said. “Just get out of the house and get a phone that I could get to.”

Tony, who burned his feet during the fire, ran to a neighbor's house and entered through an unlocked door. The neighbors, who were college students, were able to call 911 and help Tony and Hentrich.

“One of the students had worked for the fire department of his hometown so he had past experience with fires,” Platteville Fire Chief Ryan Simmons told ABC News. “When we got there it was not too far from being a really bad situation.”

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, according to Simmons. Both Tony and Hentrich were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries but are now at home recovering.

“He without a doubt saved my mother’s life,” Ruch said of Tony. “It blows my mind that at 10 years old … when he realized no one was at home and he had to take charge, he did just that.”

Tony credited fire training he learned at school with helping him in the emergency, saying the training “just kicked in.”

Tony recounted his grandmother's reaction to the scare.

“She just said, ‘I love you so much,’ and she started to cry,” he said.

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