PHOTOS/EAGLEi: Marco Island’s newest firefighter less than four feet tall

Andrew Sprankle awarded full fire gear as Marco’s Junior Firefighter of the Year

— Just about nine years old and already putting out fires, Tommie Barfield Elementary School fourth-grader Andrew Sprankle is the 2009 Junior Firefighter of the Year.

Each year, the Marco Island Fire Rescue Department has an essay contest for fire prevention week. This year’s theme was “how my home is fire safe.”

Andrew was chosen out of around 200 entries.

Tuesday, Andrew’s day began with being picked up from school in a fire truck where his class was able to watch him receive his own set of firefighter gear and watch as he was driven away lights and siren blaring.

Andrew began his day as “Jr. Firefighter” by helping his new crew cook breakfast. From there, it was a tour of the fire station, then off to training.

Andrew learned some tricks of the trade by learning how to squirt water from a fire hose, how to squirt a lot of water using a master stream, and of course, after his hard work, he was treated to a luncheon with all the firefighters, his parents and Principal Jory Westberry from Tommie Barfield Elementary.

There, he was presented with a plaque, cake and a lot of food.

After the ceremony Andrew was taken out back of the fire station to show off his newly acquired skills, and put out an actual fire with a fire extinguisher.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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