Bosnian 15-y-o hero tells N1 how he put out a forest fire and saved lives

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Source: N1

I'm Ali Sarajlic, I'm 15 years old, I'm from Parsovici village and we came with our neighbours, friends, my grandmother and uncle to voluntarily fight a forest fire in order to save human lives, a little hero from a village near the central Bosnian town of Konjic told N1's Semir Mustafic.

Grandmother Zlata has seven grandchildren, but she is especially fond of young Ali.

“I love them all, they all take care of me, but my Ali is the number one. Words fail me. He was up there, fighting the fire until 3 am, after which he would come home,” Zlata Sarajlic, Ali's grandmother told N1.

The TV crew drove across a dirt road with Ali's father to the location of the fire. After 20 minutes of driving and a 15-minute-hike, they reached the village of Buscak. There they found Refik Barakovic who first called Ali's father for help.

“Everything threatens me. My five children were raised here, so were my grandparents and great grandparents. There are no conditions or roads here,” said Refik, a resident of the village of Buscak.

Further along the forest road, the Sarajlic family explained how the fire spread.

“This beech was causing us great problems, you see, it burned down and it brought the flames to a different location, after we finished one part of the road,” Sejo Sarajlic, the father of Ali Sarajlic, told N1.

After Ali finished his last hours of firefighting, a photo of him sleeping on the rock was made which went viral in the country.

“After we'd been putting out the fire all night, I felt very exhausted, then my dad went to get some water from a well some 200 meters from here and when he came back the photo of me sleeping was made,” Ali said.

When he is not attacking the flames, he plays a striker for the local football club “Klis” attacking the opponent's goal.

“Well I don't know if they'll sell me, but I'll stay true to FC Klis,” Ali said. “Loyalty is paramount. Like Totti in Roma, for example.”

Ali's merit was also rewarded by the Prime Minister of Bosnia's Federation entity, Fadil Novalic, who gave him a tablet. The young hero, on the other hand, gave the Prime Minister a jersey of his FC Klis.

The local fire department also awarded young Ali, giving him a thank you note and fire equipment.

“When you see a 14-year-old boy putting out flames, it gives other people who are older than him a morale boost to fight fires better and harder,” said firefighter Nedim Makan told N1.

The manual he received from the firefighters will certainly help Ali decide whether he'd like to be a professional firefighter one day.