Erath County sheriff deputy Brittany Williams woke up from a nap at her residence of CR 434 to someone banging on her front door, alerting her to the fact that a grass fire was heading toward her property.
“When we opened the door, all you could see was smoke,” Williams told the E-T on Monday.
After putting on shoes, she ran outside and was surprised to find her 15-year-old autistic son Merritt Ragsdale throwing buckets of water on the fire.
Ragsdale then went back inside the house and made sure Williams and her wife were safe before hooking up the water hose and spraying down the side of the trailer house where the fire was headed.
“He was able to keep the fire at bay until the Erath County Fire Department showed up,” Williams said.
Williams said the fire was less than eight inches away from their house.
“I expect my kids to be calm, cool and collected when there’s anything serious going on,” she said. “I didn’t expect him to be as fearless as he was because he is autistic and he can get excited pretty quickly, so when I saw him fighting in action, I was proud of him because that's my line of work is to protect and serve and my son is doing that. I just hope that what I do for a living has instilled in him to keep calm during any situation, but to do your best to take care of the situation and get it neutralized until help can get there - which he did.”
Because of Ragsdale’s bravery, Williams rewarded him with his favorite meal that night – chili dogs.
Williams also spoke with Chris Brooks, Erath County fire chief, who told her that he is planning on coming up with some type of award for Ragsdale.
“I would really like his efforts honored,” Williams said. “His fearlessness and quick response is what saved our residence from going up in flames.”