Pay It 4ward: Santa Fe boy praised for saving family members from house fire

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SANTA FE, N.M. – In this Pay It 4ward, one of our community’s smallest heroes is getting some big acknowledgement.

9-year-old Asaya Chavez saved his two baby cousins from a house fire in May, and has since seemed to somewhat restore the state’s faith in one another. Families from miles away took notice of his bravery.

Asaya was surrounded by family at a Santa Fe City Council meeting for a very special reason – Santa Fe Fire Department leaders were there to thank him.

“It is with utmost honor and profound admiration that we gather here today to pay tribute to a true young hero among us,” said Santa Fe Fire Department Assistant Chief Freddie Martinez. “Asaya, and his family, was going about their daily lives when flames suddenly engulfed their home.”

The 9-year-old smelled smoke, told his grandmother, and got everyone out. Then, he went back into the burning house to save his 2-year-old, and just 7-month-old cousins.

“Amidst the chaos, with propane bottles exploding, and the fire intensifying rapidly, Asaya’s actions proved to be the crucial factor that averted an even greater tragedy,” said Martinez. 

Asaya told KOB 4 – shortly after the fire – he was only doing what firefighters taught him.

“One day firefighters came, and they told us what to do, and stuff like that, And the firefighters said, “If you smell smoke, get out the house.’” I smelt that exact same smoke, so I told my grandma, “Let’s get out, there is a fire,’” said Asaya. 

“Your bravery and quick thinking undeniably saved lives. And we’re honored to count you as not only someone we’re honoring, but as one of our own,” said Martinez. 

The young boy’s bravery made an impression on more than just fire leaders, it touched Terri and Fred Jasler all the way in Cedar Crest.

“I saw that little boy come out of that house, then to run back in? And bring them out? That touched my heart. That just broke me. It’s still breaking me,” said Pay It 4ward nominators, Terri and Fred. 

As parents of a retired police officer, they know the bravery it takes to run into danger instead of away from it.

“That was such a courage for that little boy to be able to do that. You don’t see very many kids at that age to do something like that seriously,” said Terri and Fred. 

So, it was time to Pay It 4ward in a very special way.

Watch the video above for more.