'I love him': Boy's bravery rewarded for saving brother

JAI Dickeson acted far beyond his years when a fire ripped through his family home at Calliope.

The eight-year-old sparked into action, saving his one-year-old brother Reggie, by finding him and taking him safely out a bedroom window.

Jai, 8, Reggie, 1, Telitha and Harmony Abbott, 3.
Telitha Abbott with children Reggie, Jai and Harmony Dickeson, are rebuilding their lives after a house fire destroyed their belongings. Mike Richards GLA041116JAI

Now he will receive one of the highest accolades from the Calliope Auxiliary Fire Unit, a Local Hero Award.


>> 'Traumatic': Boy saves little brother in house fire

>> 'Faith restored': Family thankful for generosity after house fire

It's the first one handed out in more than 10 years, according to fire unit Lieutenant Graham Woolley.

The brave Year 6 boy said he didn't think twice when asked to find his baby brother, even though he admitted he found him "sometimes annoying".

"He's one years old, you know what babies are like," Jai said.

"I love him though."

On October 24 a fire, which started by accident in the kitchen, tore through his family's home, destroying their belongings.

With his dad Reg away for work in Brisbane, Jai felt he was the man of the house.


Fire destroys family home : Calliope mum of three Telitha Abbott is still coming to terms with losing almost everything in a house fire.
Fire destroys family home : Calliope mum of three Telitha Abbott is still coming to terms with losing almost everything in a house fire.

"I was scared but I just wanted to know my family was safe," he said.

Ltn Woolley was called to the fire at 5.50pm on the Monday afternoon.

He said when the firefighters arrived they were told the family was out of the home and safe.

But at the time he wasn't aware of Jai's heroic actions.


"For an eight-year-old to perform a task like that under a stressful situation is well above and beyond what we would expect," Ltn Woolley said.

"Jai's eight-years-old at the moment, another 10 years and we might have a young budding firefighter."

Ltn Woolley said in his 10 years in the fire unit at Calliope, he had never handed out an award.

"We actually had to come up with a new certificate, because the last one in our system was out-dated," he said.

Ltn Woolley said they would give Jai the award at a special ceremony at his school, Calliope State Primary next week.

Since the sudden and traumatic loss of most of their belongings, the family has benefited from the region's generosity.



Donations of clothing, furniture and food vouchers have helped get them back on their feet.

Jai's mum Telitha Abbott said the generosity had a long-term impact on the family, who was originally heartbroken and scared because of the fire.

"We were actually planning on moving to Brisbane at the end of the year, but we're not doing that any more," Telitha said.

"I really like that the community helped us out, for me it's really put my faith back in Gladstone."