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Big December for Alex Sanchez, 8th grader at Morgan Maxwell K-8

December has been quite the month for Alexander Sanchez III. The 8th grader at Morgan Maxwell K-8 School awoke to the sound of a bursting light bulb in the wee hours of the morning on December 9th. The bulb had set fire to the Sanchez residence, prompting Alexander to wake up his sisters and grandparents. He then rushed to get the fire extinguisher to combat the blaze. Alexander’s quick actions allowed his family the opportunity to control the fire and escape the house unscathed.

"Basically, if you could write a book on how to do it," said Barrett Baker of the Tucson Fire Department.

Baker, who is a Captain and the Public Information Officer for the fire department, is used to typing up media releases for news reports on fires in the city. His analysis of Alexander Sanchez’s response to the fire in the Sanchez home is one of the perks of his job.

"This is technically a bad situation," Baker explained in regards to fires in general. "And yet, his reactions to it were so positive, so to be able to give him a pat on the back and tell him that we’re proud of him, it does give you a good feeling."

Baker bestowed a Citizen’s Award on Alexander on behalf of the Fire Chief of Tucson at an assembly held at Maxwell to recognize Alexander’s efforts. In addition to that, Alexander and his grandparents received a grant on behalf of the Arizona Education Association. The grant application was written by Katie Eddleman, Alexander’s science teacher, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

"[Alexander's] grandmother sent a message to me through the main office telling me she was no longer able to communicate via her computer," explained Mrs. Eddleman. "When I began to hear the story about how Alex came forward to help the family I thought, 'Wow, this is really something special that needs to be recognized.' "

The same day Eddleman learned of the fire, she received a letter from the AEA informing her that the grant for Alexander and his grandparents had been awarded. The grant itself was for $100, but administrators and teachers at Maxwell pitched in to bring the total awarded to the Sanchez to over $220.

The money and a certificate were presented to Alexander and his grandparents during the assembly to cheers and applause from an audience of Alexander’s classmates and teachers at Maxwell.

"It fe[els] good," Alexander said. "I didn’t know that was going to happen. I didn’t know any of this was going to happen."