Hero 10-year-old's quick action avoids marina boat fire

Ellie with her mother and officials behind, receiving her award
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An electrical fire on a boat is a scary thing and in a marina it can result in multiple boat losses. So it's no wonder 10-year-old Ellie Brosius is being hailed as a hero.

It happened in Seattle, but it could have happened at any marina in the world. While her parents were several boats away down the dock, Ellie, acting on her own initiative, averted an electrical fire by her quick action. She's such a hero she has been awarded a special medal from the local fire department.


In the morning of November. 20, 2012, Ellie was at the stern of the boat when she could smell something funny, and then she saw smoke. 'It was really scary,' she said later.

But not scary enough to stop her acting. Her parents were just ten boats down the dock, at the moment oblivious, so she immediately called the fire brigade and alerted her neighbours on the next boat. She even sent her dad a text.

'She sent me a text,' Scott Brosius said. 'Dad, there's smoke,' but I didn't get in time.'

The neighbour shut off all the power in the boat, which put out the electrical fire on the control panel. By the time the Fire Department responders arrived -- all three fire trucks-worth -- everything was already over.

But if the fire had been left unattended, and had Ellie not acted quickly to alert her neighbours, it could have been much, much worse.

This week, family members, Port of Seattle officials and the Fire Department responders who were at the scene got together at Ellie's marina to celebrate her quick thinking.

'We're here to thank you and we think you deserve an 'atta girl,' said Tracy McKendry, Port of Seattle's general manager of recreational boating.

For her heroic deed, she received a special medal from the Fire Department recognizing her courage. 'We heard about what you did and we wanted you to know that we take this kind of thing very seriously,' said Lt. Brian Boulay, who was one of the responders, as he presented the medal.

When she asked what her first reaction was, she said, 'I thought, 'Oh no! Our boat's going to burn down.'

Of course for Ellie, who McKendry referred to as the 'triple C' -- calm, cool and collected -- it wasn't scary enough to keep her from doing the right thing.