CLEARFIELD — The smell of smoke drew Mareke Watson and her family from their house.
That’s when the 18-year-old and her parents, Julie and Alan, saw flames engulfing the back of a neighbor’s house. The fire at Edilberto and Nelda Castillo’s home started in the garage and was spreading to the back of the house when Mareke and her family noted it.
“I was running up the street to her house and calling 911,” Mareke said. “I was just hoping they would answer as fast as they could.”
This was the first time she had ever called for emergency services. She said it was a scary experience, but she was glad to do it as it helped a friend and neighbor.
Recently, she and her family were honored for their efforts.
Edilberto and Nelda Castillo nominated the Watsons for the Hometown Hero recognition.
While Julie and Mareke called 911, Alan went to the burning home and helped Nelda to safety.
Edilberto Castillo was at work when the fire started, but his wife was at home. She had been working outside in the garden, then came in for a shower. That’s when the fire broke out.
“She heard a popping sound at the same time (Watson) was knocking on the door,” he said.
Though many neighbors came out to see if everything was OK, Castillo said the Watson family was the first to respond. Alan Watson helped Castillo’s wife to safety, while Julie and Mareke called for help and even notified his son of the fire. Because of the quick response, he said, emergency personnel arrived within 10 minutes.
Overall, the experience was a lot to take in for the family. Castillo said it was surprising to drive home from work to see the commotion of emergency personnel, neighbors and the fire that was engulfing his garage.
“It was alarming,” he said.
Now, the home is repaired, and the faulty wiring that caused the fire is fixed. But the Castillos wanted to make sure their neighbors’ efforts were recognized.
City officials honored the Watson family at a recent city meeting.
“I wasn’t really expecting it,” Mareke said of the recognition. “The fire started, and we all decided to help. It is just something you do.
“Being nominated for it came as a surprise for me.”
Clearfield public relations coordinator Natalee Flynn said city officials and staff encourage people to recognize others in the community. She said the award is a way for people to spotlight good deeds by others as it showcases what things neighbors have done to make the city a better place to live.
“(The Watson family) needed to be recognized for what they did,” Flynn said. “They say it is something anyone would have done, but that is not necessarily true.”
Flynn said the city would like to see people nominated and awarded at every meeting.
More information can be found at the city website, www.clearfieldcity.org.