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Do you know where your fire extinguisher is?

Bella George, then 11 years old, did when it counted: a day in early March when a pizza box placed on her family's cooktop caught fire, filling the kitchen with smoke. She grabbed the fire extinguisher from the family's pantry and put out the fire.

This week, Bella, now 12, received the Fire Chief's Recognition from Maplewood Fire and EMS chief Michael Mondor, presented at a Maplewood City Council meeting Monday.

"I have been in this profession for 22 years and in my 22 years, I cannot recall an incident where a 12-year-old had the presence to take action ... to extinguish the fire and protect her home, her family," Mondor said, praising Bella's calm under pressure.

Bella's family was celebrating a birthday the day the fire happened. One of Bella's younger siblings had placed a pizza box atop the glass-top stove — and inadvertently turned on the burner, mom Dee George told the Star Tribune.

Bella, her sisters and her grandma took the dog for a walk. In 15 minutes or less they were gone, the pizza box caught fire, filling the kitchen with smoke, George said.

Bella acted quickly. She said the family hadn't specifically discussed where the fire extinguisher was, but she knew. She figured out how to use it without training, all as she dialed 911 to call the fire department.

The George family's kitchen sustained some damage, and smoke damaged other items in the house — but it could have been worse, said Dee George, who said she and Bella's dad, Dan George, are proud parents.

"The lesson for us became 'know where your fire extinguishers are and how to use them,'" she said. Now, she said the family has extinguishers mounted in accessible places on all floors of their house and has given their kids a walk-through on using them.