Police honor Maryland teen for her quick thinking during fire

Eva Soderstrom is awarded by police It also shows Officer Nicole Gamard stands with her surviving dog, Quest. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

GERMANTOWN, Md. — Montgomery County Police have given a young girl a public safety award for her role in calling authorities to a house fire in May.

Eva Soderstrom, who was 13 years old at the time, spotted heavy smoke coming from a house near her home in Damascus.

She immediately told her mother to call 911.

“It was very scary and I was very nervous,” Soderstrom says. “There was smoke gushing out of the windows.”

The home belonged to Montgomery County Police Officer Nicole Gamard.

She was away for work at the time and calls the girl a hero.

“It really took a lot for her to rise above and do what we all should be doing,” says Gamard. “I’m really proud of her from both a police standpoint and a human being standpoint.”

One of Gamard’s dogs died in the fire. But her a 4-year-old Shiloh shepherd, Quest, survived thanks to Soderstrom’s actions.

“The fact that a 13-year-old did it when some adults failed to do it is very impressive,” says Gamard.

According to police, Soderstrom’s quick response also allowed fire crews to contain the flames and limit damage.

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