LA MIRADA — An 11-year-old boy dragged his sleeping 6-year-old sister to safety from their burning house early Monday.
"I half picked her up and half walked her, and I kept saying: 'There's a fire. We've got to get out.' Then she kind of woke up," Christopher Caffey said of his sister, Courtney.
Christopher had first roused his 12-year-old baby sitter and directed her out of the house. Then he returned to the house and, ducking below smoke that reached his shoulders, crawled to the telephone and called his mother at work.
"He sounded scared out of his mind when he called," Margaret Caffey said. "I told him to call 911 and get out of there fast."
Stinging Sensation in Eyes
Christopher called the emergency number and reported the fire. "I didn't hang up until I was sure they had the right address," he said. He then escaped from the burning building.
The boy was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a stinging sensation in his eyes, he said. He went to the bathroom to rinse his eyes and noticed that the mirror was "really fogged." When he returned to his first-floor bedroom, his bed and a corner of the room were in flames.
Capt. Richard Barbarino of the county Fire Department said the blaze at 11844 Singleton Drive, La Mirada, "appeared to be electrical." Barbarino estimated damage to the home to be about $50,000.
Barbarino said Christopher's action showed remarkable presence of mind.