Quick-thinking 3-year-old saves neighbor’s San Francisco home from fire

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SAN FRANCISCO – A 3-year-old boy is being credited by San Francisco firefighters with saving an apartment from burning down.

Firefighters arrived at the apartment around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon on 35th Avenue in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond neighborhood.

Flames on the balcony were visible from across the street where an observant little boy would spot them right through his front window.

“It was right there,” little Luca Sekula pointed across the street at the home he saw on fire, and knew exactly what to do.

“Mom and dad, call 911,” he recalled telling his stunned parents, who urgently followed his directions.

“I couldn’t believe it, and I thought, I’m just so glad he said something,” Luca’s mother, Kate, said. “Because I couldn’t imagine any worse damage if that thing just continued to burn.”

Thanks to Luca’s quick thinking, firefighters soon arrived and managed to stop the flames from spreading beyond the balcony.

“Firefighters came and put it out with their hose and a ladder was up there and there was a ladder truck there just like this one,” the tiny hero said while demonstrating with his toy fire engine.

It’s a real-life situation that he has pretended to handle countless times.

He has a fleet of toy fire engines and a collection of helmets that he loves to share with visitors, but it’s an animated pop-up book where he learned exactly what to do in an emergency.

“Ever since he could wobble around the neighborhood he loves firefighters,” Luca’s father, Nate, said. “It’s pretty amazing, yeah. He’s our hero.”

And the fire department hopes other kids will follow his lead.

“Tell your children it’s okay to report an emergency, and it’s okay to let people know that fire, police, medical, services need to be summoned,” said Captain Jonathan Baxter of the San Francisco Fire Department.

Luca knows how to dial 911, and already has plans to help more than just his neighbors in the future.

“I want to be a firefighter when I grow up.”

Capt. Baxter believes the fire was caused by a cigarette left unattended.

The man who lives in the apartment where the fire broke out didn’t want to talk on camera but told KTVU no one got hurt, and the damage was isolated to the balcony.

He is very grateful for the little boy’s quick thinking in a situation that could have been much worse.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.