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Quick action by 10-year-olds saves neighbor's property

Clarence Bohlmann lost a barn full of equipment in a structure fire April 6. But without the fast action of Kali Preston and Tori Lange, both 10, all his farm buildings would have burned down.

On Thursday afternoon, Beltrami County Sheriff Keith Winger presented certificates of recognition to the girls for responding quickly and correctly to an emergency.

"Heroes come in all different sizes and shapes," Winger said.

Kali and Tori described the sequence of events that day as they were playing outside Kali's house.

"I looked over the hay bales and saw this black smoke and told Tori Clarence's barn was on fire," Kali said.

"I told her mom and she didn't believe me, so we made her come out and look," said Tori. "She said she'd drive over."

Taking Brett Preston and Austin Lange, Kali's mother, Bonnie Cook, went to the Bohlmanns' place and then called 911.

"We received a call at 1607 from the Law Enforcement Center," said Bemidji Fire Captain Dick Sathers. "We found, as the girls said, the barn was on fire."

Beltrami County Chief Detective Brian Ball said if the girls hadn't seen the smoke and alerted an adult to call the Bemidji Fire Department, the other building would also have been destroyed. He said there was nothing suspicious about the fire.

"You probably saved that gentleman thousands and thousands of dollars," Winger said.