Sophomore extinguishes ring of fire in front of high school


Olivia Lauter

Sophomore David David and his dad stand in front of the brush truck that responded to the fire. David’s dad is a fire lieutenant in Mesquite.

This Valentine’s Day, love was not the only fire burning. This past Monday after cross country practice ended at 4:45 p.m., sophomore David David spotted a grassfire off the road from the west exit of the parking lot. David put out the flames with the help of other cross country members.

“I was leaving the school through the southwest exit and I saw a cloud of smoke,” David said. “I assumed it was a truck that had just gone past and puffed out a bunch of smoke or it was just dust, but as I was driving I saw there was a ring of fire.”

David was leaving the high school when he spotted the flames and made a quick maneuver against the flow of traffic to park his car. He then ran to the sight of the fire using a paper-like subsistence he found along the fence line to smother the flames. 

“There were several cars behind me and no one stopped to do anything, so I turned around, parked and then ran over to the fire,” David said. “It looked like it had started in the center and burned out; the flames were only along the outside edge. It wasn’t super huge, but it was still burning and there was a lot of smoke.”

The soot on David’s hand left from smothering the fire. David used a paper-like substance he found on the fence line to put out the fire. (Courtesy)

Freshman EJ Morrow saw David putting out the flames and came to aid. Following Morrow, seniors Katie Armstrong, Tate Barr and Rohan Sharma notice the two attempting to put out the fire and came to help. Sharma says David’s “courage and willingness to take initiative” stands out.

“There was a tree next to the fire so we wanted to put it out before it reached the tree, otherwise the fire would’ve become a big issue, especially with the wind and the nearby houses,” Sharma said. “Stomping on the fire was the easiest way for us to put it out.”

David’s father, also named David David, happens to work at the fire department. Holding 16 years of experience, David’s father is a lieutenant with the City of Mesquite Fire Department. 

“We live in what’s called a well-planned interface,” David’s father said. “That just means you have large open areas where you have brushy areas that are very close to where houses are. If a fire gets out of control it can threaten houses. It’s good that it stopped while it was small.”

Though it’s unknown how the fire started, David’s father speculates smoking materials as a likely cause.

“I can’t tell you how it started, but if it started in the middle of the field with smoking materials, that would be very common,” David’s father said. “Someone will throw out a cigarette and not think anything about it, but it’s enough to start the grass to smolder. For it to spread outward from the center would be very normal especially if it’s on fairly flat land and not much wind, then it can grow in all directions.”

Because of the concrete along roadways, local fires similar to the ones David extinguished are well-contained. David’s father says that once or twice a year in Mesquite, grass fires may threaten nearby houses. 

“We were fortunate in this case that the grass was cut so low,” David’s father said. “If the grass was higher, then I would not suggest getting out because it can flare up. David has a heart for service; he wants to help people. He looks for ways to do that.”

After the cross country members put out the fire, David recorded a video showing the extent to which the fire spread. Shortly after, the department arrived with a brush truck and chief’s car. 

“Dad’s always talked about fire so I guess I’m more comfortable with it and not afraid of it like some people are,” David said. “I’m just glad that it didn’t spread. That it didn’t burn up anything more valuable than a piece of grass.”