News Local

RM of Dufferin teen recognized for bravery

Emily Distefano, The Carman Valley Leader

Grade 9 student Shayla Plante received a certificate of bravery from Carman-Dufferin Fire Department fire chief Ben Vanderzwaag on April 18 at the Fire Hall. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

Grade 9 student Shayla Plante received a certificate of bravery from Carman-Dufferin Fire Department fire chief Ben Vanderzwaag on April 18 at the Fire Hall. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

A 14-year-old Stephenfield girl recently received a certificate of bravery from the Carman-Dufferin Fire Department for displaying courage and calm during a fire at her family’s home.

On February 15, Shayla Plante was eating dinner when her mom noticed smoke inside their dining room. Upon investigation, they found a serious fire had started in their garage.

The blaze caused significant damage to the garage, destroying most of the room’s contents.

Plante, who is in grade 9 at Miami School, said she was scared in the moment but knew the most important thing was to get everyone out of the house.

“My reaction was to freak out and almost have a heart attack,” she said.

Despite her fear, she managed to stay calm and help get her younger siblings and the family’s cats out of the house.

“I just tried to remain as calm as possible,” she said. “I got my two youngest brothers out and I got my mom and my sister out, but after that I had to go back in and get my pets.”

Once the house was completely evacuated, the family waited in the yard for the fire department to arrive.

Carman-Dufferin fire chief Ben Vanderzwaag presented the teen with a certificate of bravery, a fire safety gift bag, and an educational session on fire safety and home escape planning in honour of her quick response in the face of danger.

Plante said her advice to other people in this kind of situation would be to “focus on your family and leave all the things that don’t matter the most.”

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edistefano@postmedia.com