Oxford Fire Department awards young hero for his skills, bravery

Published 1:00 pm Friday, August 27, 2021

The Oxford Fire Department awarded Beau Boyd, 8, the Oxford Fire Department Junior Firefighter Award on Wednesday afternoon for displaying bravery and quick-thinking by saving his mother from a fire and extinguishing it.

The award is recognition of Beau’s quick thinking and actions taken in an emergency situation due to the knowledge he gained at the academy on behalf of the OFD and the city of Oxford and signed off on by Mayor Robyn Tannehill.

“We’re very proud of Beau and super proud of what he did,” said Josh Ferguson, Fire Inspector and Public Educator. “[He is] an inspiration to all of us. It’s impressive that at eight years old he was able to stay calm and put the fire out.”

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Beau attended the fire department’s Fire Academy for Kids in 2019. The fire academy was started by Fire Inspector William Stewart 13 years ago and it has been teaching children numerous lessons ranging from escaping a house fire to searching for and rescuing endangered individuals.

“The reason we put the Fire Academy on each year is to teach kids about fire safety and how to think and act during an emergency situation, but most importantly how to stay calm when something bad is going on around them,” said Ferguson. “That’s our main goal and we hope that nobody ever has to use the knowledge that we teach or ever end up in a bad situation, but those things happen sometimes and we just hope what we taught them sticks with them.”

The lessons clearly stuck with Beau. On June 15, Donna Boyd caught alight due to a candle in close proximity to her and Beau quickly responded to help his mother. Using techniques he learned at the academy, Beau leapt to action by getting the water hose and dousing the fire before any major damage was done.

“I was trying to stick my arm in the pool and our umbrella was about to catch on fire, but [Beau] was so calm,” she said. “He moved it with his foot and everything. I asked him, ‘How’d you know how to do that,’ and he said, ‘The fire academy.'”

Beau said he knew to put water on the fire because it was not an oily fire. A key fact he learned from the academy.

Unfortunately, Donna was injured by the incident and walked away with burns on one arm. She spent eight nights in the Regional One Health Medical Center getting treatment and skin grafts. Donna credits the healthcare providers there with her speedy recovery.

“They are unbelievable,” she said. “If you have a burn, that’s where you go.”

The father Rob Boyd was on his way home that day when he got a call from his son stating his mother was burned.

“Of course I’m thinking ‘Oh, she’s cooking something,'” he said. However, the elder Boyd realized the seriousness of the situation when he arrived home.

However scary the situation was, the Boyd family is grateful that it did not turn out worse and that Donna was not severely injured. The experience has opened their eyes to the challenges and risks firefighters face every day.

“We came away with appreciation for what [the fire department does],” said Rob.