The pandemic is not anyone’s idea of a good time, but for 9-year-old Moab resident Marshall Sloan, he never would have been in a position to potentially save lives if not for COVID-19.
It was five minutes after 11 a.m. on May 18 and Marshall was outside, waiting for the people riding in the Grand County School District bus to turn onto Murphy Lane and bring him his lunch. “The school bus gives free lunch,” he said. “If there was no school bus bringing me lunch I wouldn’t have been outside.”
The smell of smoke first made Marshall think someone had fired up a barbecue grill, but he noticed the grill was on the porch of the home and not in use. He then saw a man pour a bowl of water on flames and put them out, but he was oblivious to the fact the fire had crept under the home. “I thought, ‘there can’t still be smoke if there’s no more fire,’” he said before returning to his grandma’s house to tell her to call 911.
“The firefighters came within two minutes,” he said. “That was good because the house was seconds away from going up in flames. They (firefighters) figured out where the fire was coming from … it started with a cigarette.”
“I saved a man’s life, and his kids’ lives,” said Sloan, an opinion Moab Valley Fire Chief TJ Brewer wholeheartedly endorsed. “There is no doubt in our minds that a life, as well as the structure, was saved by the quick actions of this young man,” said a post on the MVFD Facebook page. “Marshall has successfully completed MVFD’s Fire Prevention program and we could not be more proud.”
Marshall’s mom, Megan, is likewise proud, telling her son he could grow up to be Marshall the Marshal.
When asked if he planned on being a firefighter when he got older, however, Marshall did not hesitate with his answer: “Nope,” he said with conviction. “I plan on working at Legoland in California.”