Daniel is hailed a hero after sniffing out fire

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A young Rugby boy has been hailed a hero after helping to save a popular church hall from a potentially devastating fire.

Daniel Watkin became alarmed when he smelled smoke as he was walking home from evening mass at St Marie’s Church in Dunchurch Road. The seven-year-old’s family tried to calm him, and told him the aroma came from burning incense - but Daniel insisted that something more serious was afoot.

And when they spotted smoke billowing from the nearby Hibbet Hall, they realised Daniel’s hunch had been correct.

His father called the emergency services and firefighters rushed to the scene to investigate, finding a blaze had broken out in the hall’s kitchen.

Daniel’s mum, Claire, said: “It’s amazing.

“He’s only seven and we are so proud of him for sticking to his guns until we discovered the fire.”

Daniel attends St Marie’s Junior School in Merttens Drive, where he was given the the title ‘nose of the year’ last week. Headteacher Phyillis Collins said: There could have been devastating damage if Daniel hadn’t been as observant and insistent as he was.

“All of his classmates think he is a hero.”

The hall is often used by the school and by churchgoers for coffee mornings and playgroups. The blaze, which was discovered on January 22, was extinguished by firefighters before more serious harm could be caused.

Father Tony Furlong, parish priest of St Marie’s, visited the school to honour Daniel’s actions.

Presenting a certificate, he described Daniel as a “hero”.