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Autistic Teen Warns Family Of Fire Burning In Living Room

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Smoke Detector (Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Smoke Detector (Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Nancy Harty Nancy Harty
I was a fan of WBBM Newsradio 780 long before joining the staff as a...
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DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (CBS) – A Downers Grove teenager with autism and a fear of fires was able to overcome those difficulties to warn his mother about a fire in their home over the weekend.

WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports, around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Wendy Harrison had just gone back to bed when her son, Brendon, came into her room, shouting.

“I had gotten up about a half an hour earlier to let the dog out, and there was nothing going on; went back to sleep and all of a sudden I hear my son going, ‘Mom, mom, mom!’” she said. “I’m like, what? He’s like, ‘What is that?’ and I’m like, ‘Nothing, go back to sleep.’”

But 14-year-old Brendon persisted, and his mother got out of bed to see what was going on.

“Finally, I get up and I walk out there, and all of a sudden I hear this crackling noise, and I look towards the kitchen and the living room, and there’s this big glow, orange glow coming from that side of the house,” Harrison said.

Harrison said a humidifier had caught fire in their living room. They put out the fire before firefighters arrived, and the three-foot flames hadn’t even created enough smoke yet to trigger the fire alarm.

Harrison said the alarm probably would have spooked Brendon, who suffers from autism and hates the noise of smoke alarms.

“He hates fire alarms. If anybody even walks near a fire alarm on a wall, he covers his ears and starts yelling at them to get away from it,” she said. “Shockingly enough, the whole episode seems to have calmed down his fire fears, because he says he wants to go to the fire station, which he’s never done before.”

Harrison said her son now wants to bring cupcakes to the firehouse as a thank you.

She said the damage from the fire was minimal.

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