Bus driver hailed for helping save residents from burning apartment: ‘You chose to take further action’

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MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee County Transit System driver is being hailed for her heroic actions after helping save residents from a burning apartment earlier this year.

Chanaye Brown was along Route 12 late at night on Jan. 5, when she spotted flames shooting from the window of a building near 79th and Hampton in Milwaukee.

“I’m going to see if I can get somebody’s attention,” Chanaye said as she ran outside.

According to MCTS, Chanaye pounded on the front door while screaming that there was a fire. Terrified residents, including multiple children, started to evacuate. Most residents didn’t know about the fire until Chanaye arrived.

Chanaye heard the voices of other kids who were still inside. She decided to run into the burning apartment unit, where she tried using a resident’s fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Unfortunately, the device was not working properly.

"Most people would have just called 911 and left it at that -- which would have been fine. That's what you're supposed to do and that's what we ask people to do. But instead, you chose to take further action," said Lt. Michael Ball of the Milwaukee Fire Department.

As part of Fire Prevention Week 2019, officials with the Milwaukee Fire Department are commending Chanaye for her actions -- and named her "Honorary Fire Chief" for the day. It is a title Brown hopes will inspire others to show the same kind of compassion when confronted with a difficult situation.

"I guess I just felt like, it was something that I needed to do because I have kids of my own and it was mine, I would want somebody to do it for them too," Brown said.

Chanaye Brown

Brown later accompanied firefighters as they went door-to-door to make sure residents have working smoke detectors in their homes.

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