A home-grown hero in Carson City

Illustration by Phil Wooley/Nevada Appeal

Illustration by Phil Wooley/Nevada Appeal

Keira Gray can't figure out why everyone keeps calling her a hero.

The 12-year-old girl from Carson City averted disaster in her neighborhood the day after Christmas by discovering a gas leak and convincing her family something was wrong.

Keira knew something was wrong - there was an odd sound and a faint odor she couldn't identify. Despite the pleas from her mom to come in out of the rain, Keira kept searching for the source of the noise.

She walked into the rain, across the street in search of the source and saw that the gutters near her house were boiling.

"From the time I first noticed it until the time we figured out what it was, it had gotten much worse," said Keira, a sixth-grader at Carson Middle School.

It turned out that a 2-inch underground pipe was leaking natural gas. Southwest Gas Corp. had to shut off gas to the neighborhood for 19 hours to fix the leak.

Representatives from the company told Keira that if it hadn't been for her, the results could have been "catastrophic."

In the aftermath, Keira received a proclamation from the Carson City Board of Supervisors, and her story will be used as a pamphlet to promote natural gas awareness.

Several times she has been called a hero for her actions and determination, but Keira said she doesn't agree with that label.

"Am I a hero? Not as much as everyone else thinks I am," Keira said. "I really didn't figure out what it was, my mom did that. I just knew something was wrong. I knew there was a faint smell and a loud noise. It just wasn't right."

Keira said what makes a hero isn't extraordinary abilities.

"I think a hero is someone ordinary who puts others before themselves," she said.

When she was younger, she idolized Superman for his good deeds, but now her heroes are found a little closer to home.

"My parents, my grandparents and my sisters are my heroes," Keira said. "The most heroic thing I have ever seen was when my sister saved me from a German shepherd that was mauling my head."

Amanda Gray, Keira's oldest sister, received a proclamation of her own for pulling the dog off Keira, who was 2 years old at the time. Keira's other sister, Jinna, was also honored with the April Schultz Humanitarian Award for her good works.

"All of my girls are amazing. They have all done great things," Donna Gray said.

As for the recent attention, Keira's philosophy is simple.

"I'm just going to try to keep it on the down low," she said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

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