Sharon junior firefighter helps save house from arson - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Sharon junior firefighter helps save house from arson

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SHARON, Pa. -

The Sharon Fire Department is investigating another suspected arson, the 18th since January 1st. 

Thanks to the quick thinking of 16-year-old J.R. Stephenson, the house was spared and quite possibly so were the clues as to who set it.

"Had I stood by and watched, I would have felt guilty for not doing what I could," said Stephenson.

You see, Stephenson is in the junior firefighter program at West Middlesex.

"I've done several classes on learning what to do and learning the basics of firefighting," said Stephenson.

So on Tuesday, July 11th, when Stephenson, who was visiting his grandmother, noticed the porch on the house right next door was on fire, his instincts immediately kicked in.

"Because I've been trained at West Middlesex, I kind of had an idea of what I needed to do. It's my duty since I am a volunteer. I've given my time, I needed to take action, it was what felt right," said Stephenson.

After telling his grandmother to call the fire department, J.R. and his younger brother, Sam, ran to the garden hose. "We both started to unravel it. I grabbed a chunk, he grabbed some chunks."

Stephenson got about 15 feet from the porch and started dousing the flames.

"Instinctively, because of training. I sprayed the flames first and then everything around where they were at that was flammable; like any of the other wood and boxes. I sprayed because I didn't want it to catch on fire too," said Stephenson.

J.R. managed to put out the fire in a couple of minutes. When fire crews arrived, they noticed fire in the basement, that was put out in about 20 minutes. 

When the smoke cleared, fire investigators ruled the cause as arson, the 18th in Sharon this year alone.

Sharon Fire Chief Bob Fiscus says Stephenson's actions not only helped save the house but also helped preserve evidence for the arson investigation.

"Kinda puts me on watch here because this house is right next to ours and that's kind of scary to think about and with all the other ones in this area, you never know what's going to happen and it's dangerous being this close to home," said Stephenson.

Stephenson says it's also dangerous putting out your own fire and warns others not to do it. "You need to call the fire department because it's very dangerous even if you are trained. You just never know what could happen with a fire and it's just better to wait for the fire department."

Fiscus says they aren't sure if this arson is connected to the 17 others. 

Crimestoppers is offering a reward for any information that could lead to an arrest. If you know anything, call Sharon fire or police. 

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