For calm action during fire, baby sitter gets city award
By LESLIE MORIARTY
SULTAN — When Kristina Jorgensen finished cleaning the lunch dishes one day in September, little did she know that her next moves would win her an award.
All she was thinking about was having a cherry Popsicle.
"The boys had already had theirs," she said. "I ate my Popsicle in the living room, and then I got up to go throw the stick away in the kitchen. That’s when I saw him."
Kristina, 12, a seventh-grader at Sultan Middle School, saw the 4-year-old boy in her charge sitting on the steps with a sad look on his face.
"I asked him what was wrong, and that’s when he told me, ‘Something’s on fire,’" she said.
She went upstairs to find that the boy, Jaydon, had found a lighter and lit his 2-year-old brother’s blanket on fire.
"I tried to put it out, but it was too big by then," she said. "The whole closet was on fire, and it was spreading."
She yelled at the three boys she was caring for to line up by the kitchen door. When she determined that she couldn’t put out the fire, she marched the boys out the door. She was going to call 911 when she learned that a neighbor, Logan Ruble, had seen the flames and had already called for help.
"So I called the boys’ mother, who worked just a few blocks away," Kristina said. "She came right home."
The fire was contained to a portion of the upstairs.
She said she acted without panic.
"I knew it was an emergency, and just did what I needed to do," she said.
Her quick action has earned Kristina the Mayor’s Youth Achievement Award from Sultan Mayor C.H. Rowe.
Rowe will present her with a plaque at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (at the Sultan Community Center, 319 Main St.
This is the first year for the award. Colleen Hawkins, assistant to the mayor, said the idea came from another city, and Sultan wanted to try it.
"It’s something new we want to do to honor youths in our city," she said, adding that they hope to have it coincide with the city’s Kids Day celebration earlier in the fall in years to come.
Kristina was nominated for the award by Sultan Police Sgt. Jeff Shelton.
"She was able to maintain her composure throughout the incident," Shelton said. "Kristina is a role model for all youths."
Kim Rousseausaid she was glad Kristina was there.
"She saved my boys," Rousseau said. "She knew just what to do."
Kristina’s mother, Simo Eggleson, said her daughter has always been responsible.
"She’s helped take care of her younger siblings," said Eggleson. "She’s just very grown up."
In fact, Kristina now helps her mother with a new baby, giving up her baby-sitting job with the three boys.
Kristina was pleased to find out about the award, her mother said.
"She was smiles from ear to ear," she said.
Kristina, who would like to be a teacher or maybe operate a child-care center someday, said she was glad she decided to eat that Popsicle that day.
"If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been going back into the kitchen and discovered what was wrong until the fire was really out of hand," she said.
"I guess the whole thing has taught me to make sure and check on the kids more often. It can make a really big difference," she said.
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