After house fire, mother emphasizes preparing kids for emergency

Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 5:55 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke County Fire and Rescue and Roanoke City Fire and EMS put out a house fire Sunday morning. The family shares the importance of teaching children how to respond to emergencies.

For the past 15 years, Michelle Tringali has answered phone calls from people who have an emergency.

“I work for Roanoke City’s 911 center,” said Tringali.

Sunday morning she found herself on the other side of the phone.

“Our neighboring jurisdiction Roanoke County gave me a call because my son had placed a call to them for smoke coming out of an outlet here at our house,” added Tringali.

When she arrived, she found her son Mikey outside with their dog and two cats.

“He knew not to touch where the smoke was coming from. He moved a couple of items that were on the counter close to where he saw the smoke. Grabbed his dog and left the house,” explained Tringali. “So, I am very proud of him.”

15-year-old Mikey was diagnosed with autism at 4 years old. Since then, Tringali says she’s emphasized running drills and asking him questions.

“We even practiced him calling 9-1-1 and giving his address and his name,” said Tringali. “So, that things wouldn’t be foreign to him. Autistic children do really well when they’re repeatedly given information.”

Roanoke County Fire and Rescue officials say the fire originated in the kitchen and was brought under control in 15 minutes. Damages are estimated to be $60 thousand.

“If anything, else let this be just a learning lesson for you. And make sure your family is prepared. So, that they can do the same thing,” said Tringali. “They can evacuate the house and make sure that they’re safe. Lives can’t be replaced, items can.”

Tringali says she’s just thankful.

“I am happy that first responders, my child, our pets were not hurt or harmed because of this house fire,” added Tringali.

The is displaced and will be staying with Tringali’s daughter. The American Red Cross will provide them with additional resources.