Second grader receives Tucson Fire Young Hero Award

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A local second grader was honored Wednesday for his life-saving efforts.

The Tucson Fire Department is calling the kid a hero after he helped his family to safety when their house caught on fire.

"That was my classroom 20 years ago," said Jim Critchley.  "That one on the end."

Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley has come a long way since his days at Steele Elementary.  But Wednesday he honored a 7-year-old with firefighter potential.

"I went to save my family," said Young Hero recipient Nathaniel Cutting.

Second grader Nathaniel Cutting received the Tucson Fire Young Hero award for his bravery earlier this month when his house caught fire.

"I woke up to the smoke alarm," Cutting said.  "I went to wake everyone up and I just brought them outside."

Nathaniel rushed the babysitter and his two sisters out of the home and to a designated meeting place at a neighbor's house.

"People were on the couch in the bedroom sleeping," Cutting said.  "My mom's room didn't get touched at all.  Only my room and Haily's room, my sister's."

"Well that's exactly what we were hoping would happen and this is just a perfect example," said Fire Chief Jim Critchley from the Tucson Fire Department.

Critchley says Nathaniel's know-how isn't a coincidence.  TFD recently gave Nathaniel's class a lesson on fire safety.

"That education now becomes part of the curriculum, or part of our growing up," Critchley said.  "And now we all know when you hear the alarm you've got to get out of the house."

"I just learned in school.  I paid attention," said Cutting.

Firefighters credit Nathaniel for remaining calm and never re-entering the burning house.

Safety tips and quick thinking turned this average kid into a hero.

"They were very proud of me.  I mean, if I didn't save them they wouldn't be here," said Cutting.