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LITTLE HERO: 8-year-old kid saves day

July 11, 2012

Photo contributed by Steve Strandlund Sammy Varga spotted smoke at a neighbors house Sunday morning. Firefighters Brian Walker (left) and Roddney Ousley (right) extinguished the fire and saluted Sammy for his efforts.

COLUMBIA CITY ­ — Eight-year-old Sammy Varga may wear a cape when pretending to be a super hero, but to his family and neighbor, Angie Cotter, he is a hero.
Sunday morning, Sammy was outside when he saw smoke coming from the Cotter residence.
“I told my dad that they must be cooking a lot of bacon because there was a lot of smoke,” said Sammy.
Kim and Tad Varga are the parents of Sammy. Kim said that she was very proud of her son.
“We were getting ready to go to church, and I had told Sammy to go out and pick up his toys because there were dark clouds in the sky and I thought it might storm,” said Kim. “That is when Sammy saw the smoke coming from the neighbor’s house.”
As the family left for church, Sammy made mention of the smoke again. That is when Kim and Tad pulled into the Cotter’s driveway.
Kim said, “We started ringing door bells and Tad called 9-1-1 because we didn’t think they were home.”
Columbia City’s fire department was dispatched to the scene where there was indeed fire that did damage in the attic and bathroom. According to Chief Thomas LaRue, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
“He is an outstanding citizen. To be as young as he is and to have been so observant to see the smoke and tell his parents...that is a pretty rare thing,” said LaRue.
Both firefighter Brian Walker and Roddney Ousley thanked Sammy for his actions and said that the fire was just moments away from erupting into a larger blaze.
Being a hero is not new for Sammy. When violent storms hit the area on the afternoon of June 29, Sammy took his sister Lucy, who is five, and their dog to the basement to find shelter.
The two had been at a neighbors house when Sammy saw the dark clouds coming in. He told the neighbor that he was going home and took Lucy with him. The neighbor didn’t realize that Kim was not there, but had went into town to run some errands.
Kim said, “When the storm hit, I got a call from the neighbors asking if I had Sammy and Lucy with me and I started panicking. When I got home, they were in the basement with the dog, praying for the rest of us who weren’t home.”
The all-to-recent scare is still emotional for Kim to recount. But she said she was glad to know that Sammy had enough wisdom to get his sister, corral the dog and head to the basement.
“I was so relieved when I found them in the basement praying,” said Kim.
Sammy said, “I just went in the basement because that is what we always do when there’s a storm.”
Kim said although she is pleased with Sammy, she hopes he can hang up his super-hero uniform and not have any life saving emergencies in the near future.

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