Girl smells smoke, alerts Cub Scout group during fire safety course at school

Cub Scout spots school fire in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A kindergartner is being praised after spotting a fire Monday night that started during a Cub Scout meeting at St. Jude Catholic chool.

The Scouts were learning about fire safety at the time.

Caroline Hahn, was with her Lions Den Cub Scout group in the cafeteria at the time. She told News 8 when she knew something was wrong and had to speak up.

At the time, the 6-year-old girl was learning Stop, Drop and Roll. The technique used to avoid catching on fire was one of several learned by the children.

She put her new fire safety knowledge to use almost immediately.

Caroline said, “Steam was coming out of the lights and my Pack leader called 911 and the Pack leader’s husband said, ‘Everyone grab your coats and get out of here.’”

Caroline is part of Cub Scout Pack 51. It’s a co-ed troop.

“I just went to my teacher, my Pack leader, and said, ‘I smell smoke,’” she said.

The Cub Scout troop of Caroline’s brother, second-grader Evan, was also in the building. He said, “I just thought that it was just a fire drill. It wasn’t a fire. It was just a fire drill.”

But it wasn’t a drill.

“When I realized the next day that she was the one that alerted the people, I realized I just, I felt so proud of her,” her younger brother said.

Their dad, Tony Hahn, a Cubmaster, was at the school, too. “You’re never too young to say something if you see something and speak up. She knew something wasn’t right but she was brave enough to say something to her leader,” he said.

Tony described Caroline as a feisty 6-year-old with a big voice who spoke up just in the nick of time.

“I was kind of happy because I was the one that alerted,” Caroline said.

Caroline’s effort will be mentioned at the annual Cub Scout dinner, her father said.

Indianapolis Fire Department says decorative straw was the cause of the fire in a second-floor storage room. IFD says straw can collect moisture and on occasion spontaneously ignite a fire. Damage to the school, which was closed Tuesday for cleaning, was described Monday night as minor.