A winning invention from a Dublin first-grader could someday save lives.

A winning invention from a Dublin first-grader could someday save lives.

Glacier Ridge Elementary School first-grader Walter Reynolds took first place at the Central Ohio Invention Convention at Columbus State Community College May 9 with his invention, Flee the Fire.

Reynolds was one of six to move on after a district Invention Convention event in April.

Reynolds' invention stemmed from a fear of fire.

Children are taught that if a door is hot to the touch a fire could be right outside.

"You put your hand on the door to see if it's hot and there's a fire," he said. "Sometimes I used to be afraid of doing that because I'd burn my hand at night."

Reynolds' fear also extended to his younger brother.

"(Kids) 4 and under are not taught to feel the door," said Reynolds' mother Kim Clavin, adding that young children are instead taught to go to a window and wave for help.

"He made it for his little brother ... . It's removing human error."

To take the guesswork out, Reynolds said he wanted something around the doorknob that would show whether or not it's safe to leave the room at night.

"I made Flee the Fire and you look at it and it shows if you can go out your door or not," he said.

Reynolds went through four prototypes, seeing which option would best let children in a dark room know if there was a fire outside the door.

Liquid crystal stickers, glow sticks and thermometers were tested by Reynolds at the Ohio Fire Academy's fire house, ferreting out a thermometer that could hang on the door and display a red light if the door is hot as the winner.

Reynolds even took his invention to Washington Township firefighters to get feedback.

"They thought it was good," he said.

Judges at Invention Convention agreed, awarding Reynolds first place among first grade students.

"The best thing he said to me is he was most excited to get his first letter saying I saved somebody's life," Clavin said.

The family is getting a provisional patent to protect Reynolds' Flee the Fire idea, but also plan to use the experience as a lesson in the process. Clavin said the invention has garnered a lot of interest and could be manufactured if it gets the right support behind it.

Reynolds could have a long future in inventing and said he might try the Invention Convention again next year.

"He's had an invention notebook since he was three," Clavin said.