Youngster honored for life-saving plan in fire

By Allen Smith
Independence Daily Reporter – March 15, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 10, 2015

coffeyville fire 4102015

Looking back on the events of the early morning hours of Feb. 1, Chelsea Muller a young mother of two children living in a two-story house between Coffeyville and Edna, is glad that members of the Coffeyville Fire Department paid a visit to her son’s school during Fire Prevention Week.

Muller’s 7-year-old young son, Taylen, a student at Coffeyville’s Community Elementary School, heard a presentation about what to do in case of a fire at his home. Taylen received a coloring book that described what to do in case of a fire, and he and his mom studied the book together.

Taylen’s persistence in getting a plan devised and put in place earned him the designation of Junior Firefighter at Tuesday’s meeting of the Coffeyville City Commission. Taylen was presented a plaque by Coffeyville Firefighter Jake Dean.

What Taylen learned, and his persistence, most likely saved his life, as well as his mom’s and his nearly 2-year-old sister, Ellie.

“He came home after school that day and said we need to establish a plan in case we have a fire at our house,” his mother said Saturday. “He was persistent. He kept after me and kept after me to do this, so we did,” she said.

Taylen and his mom decided that in case of a fire the plan would be to meet at the mailbox along the road in front of their rural Labette County residence.

“The firemen taught me to talk to my mom about having a plan in case of a fire at our house,” Taylen said Saturday.

Chelsea said at 3 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday she was awakened by a popping sound.

“I got up and opened my bedroom door and smoke was filling the house already,” said Chelsea, an aide at Community Elementary. “I got Taylen woke up and I knew he understood what he was supposed to do, which freed me up to go get Ellie and get her out.”

Taylen had his own room, and Ellie slept in a crib in her mom’s room.

“Taylen did just what he was supposed to do, exactly what I knew he would do. He ran to the mailbox and after I got Ellie I went to the mailbox…and there he was,” she smiled at her son.

For some reason, she still doesn’t exactly know why, she asked her father, George, to come to the house and move a toy box he built for Taylen from in front of the main door to his room to the other side of the room.

“My dad built him a gigantic toy box–it was big and heavy–and I couldn’t move it by myself. So he came and helped me move it.

“For whatever reason, we had it sitting in front of the main door into his bedroom,” Chelsea said. “Had it been there that morning I don’t think I could have got that door open. I don’t know what would have happened. I shudder to think about that.”

Of course, as time passed the smoke got worse.

“I remember after I picked Ellie up out of the crib, I bent down and took a deep breath and got out of the house…smoke was everywhere…but I was able to get enough of a good breath to get out,” Chelsea said.

Once all three were safe and at their specified meeting place, Taylen ran down the road and got his grandparents.

“My dad came down with a spotlight and we tried to see if there was any way to get in and salvage some belongings,” Chelsea said. “It was too late everything was already done. It was unsafe to try that.”

She said it was tough on her dad.

“That was the house he grew up in…his homestead,” she said. “I hate it that house burned down, but on the other hand I am glad we are safe.”

While the family lost all their belongings they found out what kind of friends they had.

“Within a day or two after the fire, the people in Edna, and Coffeyville had donated enough clothes to clothe ourselves,” Chelsea said. “Both communities were wonderful after the fire.”

She felt bad for all the firefighters who came to battle the blaze because it was Super Sunday.

“I kept telling them they should go home and watch the Super Bowl, but they stayed to make sure nothing else happened. They were really wonderful,” Chelsea said.

She said the cause of the fire is officially undetermined.

“They think it started in a furnace,” she said.

“It really doesn’t matter now, everything is gone and we’ve started over. But what those firefighters did was sure a blessing,” Chelsea said.

“I hope our story will move others to develop a plan in case something like this happens to someone else,” she said.

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