Unsure as to what he wants to become when he grows up, 4-year-old Jacob Gurzi seemed certain he won't become a firefighter.
The Grovetown boy saw smoke rising from a house fire in Evans on Tuesday afternoon.
"There was a fire at this house," Jacob said Wednesday after he went back to the house at 4054 Mullikin Road, which borders his grandparents' backyard. "A big one."
Jacob was with his grandmother, Leslie Gurzi, about 3 p.m. Tuesday as she worked in the backyard of her Eagle Trace home.
He alerted her to smoke and fire coming from the house owned by John and Joy Lewis.
"He was very calm," said Gurzi, who said she immediately called 911. "He just said, 'Grandma, look at that house.' He wasn't panicked at all."
The Lewises and their 10-month-old son were not home at the time of the fire, but contractor Matt Boswell had a three-member crew at the house conducting home improvements.
Boswell said that when the fire started on one side of the upper level, it wasn't seen by the workers because they were at the opposite end of the home.
"You saved my workers, you know that?" Boswell told Jacob, and gave him a pat on the back Wednesday. "Good job."
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue workers, who were performing hydrant maintenance around the corner, arrived just 30 seconds after the call reached the dispatch center at 3:02 p.m.
The house already was billowing smoke and engulfed in flames when crews arrived, said Honey Shore, a fire department spokeswoman.
The top floor of the Lewis home was destroyed; the bottom floor was damaged by smoke and water, Shore said.
An investigation revealed no clear cause of the fire, which appears to have been accidental, Shore said.
No connection was made between the home improvements and the fire, she said.
Joy Lewis said she was thankful Jacob saw the smoke and fire, because if it had burned longer unnoticed, the fire could have harmed members of the work crew.
When Gurzi brought Jacob to watch emergency workers fight the fire Tuesday, Lewis said, she didn't even know his name. She scooped him up and carried him around for a short time.
"I told him, 'You're a hero,' " Lewis said.
Gurzi said her shy grandson is fascinated by trains and the movie Cars , so it wasn't watching the firefighters battle the blaze that most excited him that day.
It was seeing the fire trucks that blocked Mullikin Road, their lights flashing for more than two hours.
"I got to be close to them," the boy said.
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