CANTON (CBS) – Police say quick thinking by two high school freshmen and old-school technology stopped a fire from getting worse and threatening lives over the weekend.

W.T. Khoury and Matt Casamento were out on Saturday night when they saw the rear of a building on Washington Street on fire. While Casamento called 911, Khoury tried something else – he pulled the nearest “pole box.”

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“I had never noticed it, I didn’t know it existed before,” Casamento told WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields about the pole box.

It turns out the pole box, which is increasingly rare in most places except for densely populated areas, drew a faster response.

“Although numerous 911 calls did eventually come in reporting the fire, the Canton Fire Department was already enroute because those old boxes communicate directly with Canton Fire Alarm,” the Canton Police Department said in a Facebook post.

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“The flames were really thick,” Khoury said. “I just pulled it, and I held it for like three seconds.”

It just goes to show that “newer isn’t always better,” according to police.

“The area where the fire started is extremely congested with commercial property and two and three family residences,” the department said. “Because of the boys’ quick actions, Canton firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it spread too far and endangered lives.”

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