Eagle River boy was first to call 911 after deadly apartment fire

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 4:45 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A family that survived a deadly apartment fire in Eagle River is crediting their young son’s quick thinking with saving more lives.

11-year-old Izaya Misenhimer may not think of himself as a hero but his mom said he was the first to call 911 — an even bigger deal when you consider that he and his mom had just leaped from a second-story window.

Chelsey Misenhimer said there were flames coming up the stairwell of their apartment early in the morning of July 31. They couldn’t go out the front door to flee so they ran to Izaya Misenhimer’s bedroom in the back.

“She shut the door and I ran back in my room and I popped the screen out and then I jumped out,” Izaya Misenhimer said.

Chelsey Misenhimer followed him, landing on some rocks, where she bruised her head and broke her wrist. Izaya Misenhimer said he was frightened when he saw his mother was hurt, but he knew what to do.

“She was on the ground and like crying and stuff,” he said. “So I grabbed her phone and called (911).”

Izaya Misenhimer stayed on the phone with dispatchers for several minutes, correctly giving them his address and directing them to the fire.

Despite the response, two people died in the fire, which was attributed to arson, and dozens lost their homes. One of those who lost their home is Izaya Misenhimer’s grandmother, Kathryn Misenhimer, who lived with her daughter and grandson.

Kathryn Misenhimer was recently allowed back into the unit to see if anything was salvageable. She returned with her father’s bible and some family photo albums.

“These are all I have left in my life but I’m so blessed to have them,” she said, adding that she was also grateful for the help the family has received since the fire.

“The Lion’s Club, the AFC Church, the Red Cross and the community, overwhelming with kindness, or we would never have got through any of this,” she said.

Kathryn Misenhimer said she feels pride when she thinks of her grandson whose quick actions may have saved other lives.

“He’s a hero,” she said. “He deserves to be celebrated.”

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