Third-grader honored for saving mother from kitchen fire

Daniel Bell is honored in Beulaville
Daniel Bell is honored in Beulaville(WITN)
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 9:11 PM EST
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BEULAVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A third-grader was honored Friday for saving his mother’s life.

A kitchen fire in Beulaville earlier this year nearly killed Shanna Washington. Fortunately, her son Daniel Bell was home too.

On that June 6, Bell’s stepfather Anthony James accidentally turned the stove on the highest setting rather than off before he left their home.

Bell said he was home and walking around, “like ‘what’s going on?’ And I’m in the kitchen like ‘is that a fire or something?’”

He hurried to tell his mom, but she had a hard time responding.

Washington suffered third-degree burns to her arms, upper chest and neck area, and was rushed to Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Chapel Hill. Staff there say they see burns from kitchen fires often.

Jaycee Burn Center’s Derek Miller said, “That’s the heavy-hitter and we know - from fatalities perspective - that is the highest risk of fatality.”

Bell, however, was determined to make sure his mom would be okay.

Bell said whenever he sees first responders in his neighborhood, he asks them fire safety tips.

“Whenever they always come around the house I always be talking to them and stuff,” he said.

It turned out those tips would prepare him for what to do in a grave emergency.

Bell received heroism honors from both the state fire marshal and from the Beulaville Fire Department. He was also given the Save A Life award from the Jaycee Burn Center.

Daniel Bell receives heroism honors
Daniel Bell receives heroism honors(WITN)

Washington admires her son’s bravery, saying “He was very brave to handle this situation as well as he did.”

James echoed her sentiment. “I’m proud. Hands down I’m proud of him. He did what he had to do. He saved his mama. He saved his mom.”

Washington is still going through therapy at the Jaycee Burn Center. She says she’s feeling much better physically but is still taking her time to work through some PTSD from that moment in the kitchen.

Bell received a $500 gift card from Chief Carter and the fire department and says after he buys some Christmas gifts, he’s going to use the rest of the money to get a grill and air fryer and help his mom overcome her fear.

WITN asked Bell how it felt to be honored in the gym at Beulaville Elementary School, to see his mom in the crowd.

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