American Red Cross Hero- Brooke Staton 

Joy Hollowell

Most students in Maine are taught in school what to do in case of a fire.That lesson turned into a life saver for 12-year old Brooke Staton.Her actions last June earned the middle schooler an American Red Cross hero award.==========”I was making hamburger patties with my mom and I asked her if we could make french fries,” said Brooke Staton.”And I said, ‘Sure.’ So I put some vegetable oil in a pot and turned the stove on to heat it up, and I went to the freezer to get the french fries and realized we’re out,” said Brooke’s mom, Nicci Lagasse.12-year old Brooke offered to watch her seven year old sister, Morgan and 6-month old sister Molly, while Niccki ran to the store.”And I turned the burner off,” said Nicci, “and set the oil and the pot on the back burner that hadn’t been working for quite some time.”Brooke decided to hop in the shower. She strapped her baby sister into a swing and set it in the bathroom. Morgan was already in there, drying her hair.”When I was in the shower,” said Brooke, ” I heard popping, so I asked Morgan to go outside and see what was out there.””I saw the back wall on fire,” said Morgan, “and then it spread to the cupboards and it came along to the table and splattered the windows.””She just started screaming, ‘Fire fire,'” said Brooke.Brooke jumped out the shower, grabbed Molly in a football hold and ordered Morgan to start running.”The kitchen was engulfed,” said Brooke, “it was getting hard to see. We jumped over three flames before we were able to get out the door.””they were coming from the wall…it’s like it was sucking in and then it blew out,” said Morgan, “It was really scary for me.””I just kept telling her to just keep looking forward,” said Brooke, “keeping running, don’t look at the house.”Around this time, Nicci was returning from the store.”As I rounded that corner,” said Nicci, Tthe kitchen window exploded out. And when the oxygen hit the fire, it immediately wrapped the flames around the roof of the house. I was like, ‘Oh my God, where are my kids?'”Nicci raced to her house.”I ran up the stairs with my arms kind of covering my face because the flames were shooting out,” said Nicci. “And the kids saw me and they said, ‘Mommy, mommy, don’t go in, we’re safe, we’re safe.'””It was just amazing to see her,” said Brooke.”I was screaming their names over and over again,” said Nicci. “Brooke, Morgan, Molly. I’m sorry” (she pauses to compose herself). “As soon as I saw them, I ran up to the driveway and just squeezed them so tight. I was just so relieved to see them.”The Lagasse family lost nearly all of their belongings that day. But miraculously, neither Brooke, Morgan or Molly received a scratch.”The thing that got me out of there,” said Brooke, “and I’m glad they do this at the school, the firemen would come in every year and teach how us to drop and roll and all that, just try to get out as fast as you can.”(family singing- “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”)Brooke believes she had an angel sitting on her shoulder that night. But the rest of the family believes Brooke is the angel.”it’s unbelieveable what she did. She saved my life,” said Morgan.”She was a hero before being nominated,” said Nicci. “She saved my entire family and I’ll owe her forever for that.”===========Brooke Staton was one of six people honored as American Red Cross heroes at a breakfast earlier this month.