Girl Scout honored for bravery after saving grandma from fire

MELINDA WATSON, right, admires an award given to her daughter, 14-year-old Amelia Watson, at a Saturday ceremony at Fruita Middle School. Amelia received a national Bronze Cross Lifesaving Award from the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, in recognition of saving her grandmother, 78, from a house fire last January.

The Girl Scouts is about more than Lemon Chalet Cremes or Daisy Go Rounds, Thank U Berry Munch.

The group also is about saving lives.

Just ask 14-year-old Amelia C. Watson, who saved her grandmother, Joyce Ensley, from a house fire last January.

With the aid of her 13-year-old brother, Max, the Cadette Senior Scout carried her 78-year-old grandmother out of her parents’ Grand Junction home when Ensley’s oxygen tank caught on fire.

Though much of the house was destroyed by fire and smoke damage, everyone got out safely, including her parents, Tom and Melinda Watson, and her pets, Amelia said.

“The Girl Scouts’ motto is to be prepared, whether that’s for school events, homework, making new friends or emergencies,” she said. “So that and fire drills with my parents really prepared me for this, at least as much as somebody could be prepared.”

For her bravery, the Girl Scouts of the USA on Saturday awarded her one of its highest honors, the national Bronze Cross Lifesaving Award.

Amanda Kalina, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Colorado, said it was only the sixth time in 10 years that the award has been bestowed on a Scout in the state,

The group’s president and chief executive officer, Megan Ferland, came from Denver to bestow the award on Amelia during a ceremony at Fruita Middle School.

“There are two lifesaving awards given out in Girl Scouts, and this is the higher of the two,” Kalina said.

“It’s given to people who actually risk their life to save someone else, and that doesn’t happen every day.”

Kalina said criteria for getting the award not only require a brave act, but lots of substantiation that it actually happened, including statements from witnesses and other documentation.

Amelia said her grandmother, who has since moved to California, has emphysema and can barely get around.

The fire, the scout said, was sparked by a cigarette Ensley was smoking in her room.

“It was like a blowtorch because it had been filled just the day before,” Amelia said of the oxygen tank.

“The fire was put out before anything super dangerous happened. My brother and I got her out of the house and wrapped her up. One of the firemen picked up (the oxygen tank) and threw it into the snow. I didn’t really think much; I just reacted.”

The house was so damaged, the family still hasn’t been able to move back in, she said, but that’s scheduled to happen by the end of the year.


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