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Middle-schoolers extinguish fear of potential fire unknown

Kenowa Hills — Kenowa Hills Middle School students in Lisa White’s Life Skills class recently had their fears of the unknown extinguished during a visit from the City of Walker Fire Marshall Kevin Degroot.

Degroot presented to several classes and led a hands-on demonstration of how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Using a controlled, live fire prop outside in the parking lot, each student got the chance to try putting out the fire.

“Pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze and sweep,” Degroot instructed. 

When it was her turn, eighth-grader Eden Hrycyk picked up the extinguisher and squeezed the handle, but her initial spray didn’t put the fire out.

“The flames weren’t getting smaller, so I moved closer,” she said.

Some students shared how the lesson challenged their expectations of fire extinguishers. 

Sixth-grader Ryleigh Kingma said she thought the extinguisher would be filled with foam instead of powder. 

Another student said he expected it to be heavier to lift. 

Degroot also gave instructions for how to respond during a house fire. 

“Keep fire in front of you and keep an exit clear behind you,” he said. “If you’re not comfortable using the extinguisher, walk away and get out of the house.”

After the demonstration, sixth-grader Alex Dombrowski said if he was ever in a situation with someone else who may not know how to react, he now knows how to use an extinguisher. 

Ryleigh added: “This helped us feel better prepared and know what to expect and how to react when there is a fire.” 

Read more from Kenowa Hills: 
Building skills for life, starting with food
Young engineers turn paper into a wild ride

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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