Alachua County Fire Rescue honors young hero

An Alachua County Fire Rescue engine pulled into Domino’s on the corner of 75th Street and SR 24 Wednesday afternoon, but the firefighters weren’t looking to order pizza—or put out a fire.

Instead, Alachua County Fire Rescue Chief Harold Theus presented Domino’s employee Sierra Petska, 21, with a Chief’s Commendation Citizen First Responder Award for extinguishing a car fire just over a month ago.

Theus said that because car fires spread easily, Petska prevented nearby cars from burning or catching fire as well.

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“[The firefighters] pretty much had nothing to do when they got there, and that’s all because of you,” Theus told Petska.

On April 28, Petska was delivering pizzas to the Bellamay Grand Apartments on SW 75th Street when she saw a fire inside of a car parked in front of the apartments. She parked behind the vehicle to make sure she had actually seen a fire. She had.

Petska left her car and began pounding on the doors to the downstairs apartments while yelling that someone’s vehicle was burning. She ran upstairs and knocked on those apartment doors as well before returning to the car.

The fire had grown so Petska pulled the fire alarm for the building before moving her car further away. Then, someone from the apartments offered her a fire extinguisher.

Petska took the extinguisher and, after struggling to remove the pin, started spraying the fire through a hole in the front passenger side window while apartment residents watched.

When the vehicle’s owner came downstairs, Petska apologized for spraying so much foam inside his car—and then finished delivering her pizza order. She asked the apartment residents if she should wait for the fire department. They said she could leave, so Petska headed back to Domino’s, passing fire trucks along the way en route to the extinguished blaze.

The whole ordeal lasted about five minutes, and the fire department had to call the Domino’s to get Petska’s story for the arson investigation.

“This is incredible,” Petska said upon receiving the award. “I really do appreciate this.”

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Brannin Vickers

Thank you for a wonderful story! I’m so happy to hear just how brave this young woman is. If she’s still at Dominos I’d love to offer her a job with my Marketing firm here in Gainesville Fl. Looking forward to more stories in the future.