NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 3-year-old Staten Island boy is being hailed a “little hero” for alerting his family about a blaze in the basement of their home.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said it’s amazing that Christopher Cooke had the presence of mind to do what he did at such a young age. He spoke at a ceremony Tuesday where the boy earned the title of junior firefighter.

“This is a remarkable story,” Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro said. “He may have prevented a real tragedy.”

On Dec. 30, the boy heard the smoke alarm sound in the basement and screamed “alarm, alarm, alarm” and shook his father — who had just returned home after working a double shift — until he woke up.

Christopher’s father, Steven Cooke, ran to the basement of their Great Kills home where he spotted a fire behind the clothes dryer and extinguished the flames but they reignited. Steven Cooke gathered his family outside until the FDNY arrived minutes later and put the flames out.

The boys’ parents said Christopher was taught fire safety instructions in schools.

“He listened [during the fire safety demonstration] and took that message home,” said Cassano. “If we can have others do this, we’ll save many lives.”

During Tuesday’s ceremony, the boy received an FDNY badge, ID card, certificate, official sweatshirt, hat and toy.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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