CORTLAND, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — An 11-year-old boy from Cortland is being hailed a hero after a simple task helped firefighters in a Monday night fire.
The fire at 35 Maple Avenue in Cortland brought in 30 firefighters. Chief for the Cortland Fire Department, Wayne Friedman, said the conditions that night, didn’t help.
“The fire quickly grew and spread due to the high winds that we had that night, it went and it got up into the attic area, so the fire grew intensely very quickly,” Friedman said.
He said the fire hydrant they used to help get the fire out was already cleared out and ready for them.
“If we didn’t have access to that hydrant, we would have ran out of water either going to another hydrant or having to shovel, chip away the ice to get to that hydrant,” he said.
The chief said this would have delayed the process of getting water to the fire, which he said could have lead to bigger problems.
Blayke Austen-Hines, 11, told NewsChannel 9 he’s been shoveling fire hydrants since he was able to pick up a shovel, so he’s used to it.
“There’s really nothing else I can do,” he said. “But I figured if I could do it for the firefighters, it will also help them.”
He said he’s happy he helped save lives, and houses from burning down.
Since then, the Cortland Fire Department and other agencies have honored Austen-Hines for his heroic act.