Last October, Urias Jah was home at Plymouth Pond Apartments with a stomachache when he heard people yelling “Fire!” Initially, Jah thought the cries were a prank until he realized flames were growing on the building’s second floor.
From there, the 18-year-old acted fast, pulling the fire alarm to alert residents to leave. Jah used the apartment’s iron railing to climb up to the second and then third stories, blasting the flames with a fire extinguisher he had managed to attach to himself.
“I wasn’t freaking out,” Jah says. “I’m not the kind of person who’s afraid of fire.” The Liberian immigrant knew to act quickly. “Where I’m from, a lot of people’s houses burned. You’ve got to help,” he says.
When emergency services reached the scene, attention landed on the Armstrong High School senior, but Jah says he was just doing what needed to be done. “I had to do what I [could]… I had a test the next day and I had to study for it.”
Urias Jah was recognized for his bravery, receiving a Plymouth Citizens Award in March as well as recognition from Robbinsdale Area Schools in May.