Ten-thousand feet in the air and Nils Marcune was heading home. It's a long way from Argentina to Berks County. His mother was on her way to pick him up at the airport. Nils' two girls, Marcela and Coral, were sleeping in their Tilden Township home. Their alarms were set for school. It was just before 5 a.m. on April 29, 2019.
Marcela woke up to their dog, Mojo, barking. Then, she heard something else. Marcela came out of her room and opened the door to her grandmother's. Smoke rushed out.
She ran to Coral's room and grabbed a cell phone. The girls got on the floor and began crawling while the house was filling with a black, thick smoke. Mojo was right behind them.
Trooper Janssen Herb, a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal, remembers it well.
A fire badly damaged a home near Hamburg early Monday morning.
"This is likely one I won't forget," Herb said. "Fire venting completely out of the front window of the first floor of the house. It was licking out the window, up over onto the roof."
One of the bedrooms was on fire.
"I was the first arriving chief officer. It's things like that you remember," recalled Dep. Chief Jarrod Emes, Union Fire Company of Hamburg.
Officials are calling a 13-year-old girl a hero after getting herself and her sister out of a burning home that was quickly filling with smoke.
On his way there, Emes had been told there were two girls inside. The girls and their dog were making their way through the house and out the back door.
"I remember hearing the fire alarm go off, and so I got out and she got a phone to call 911 when we were out of the house safely," Coral said.
"I'm thankful that I'm safe and that my sister and my dog are safe," Marcela added.
13-year-old Marcela Marcune-Brown had no idea what she was getting into when she arrived at the Tilden Township building, just like she didn't…
"I was able to find that both girls were outside in the back corner of the house, near a split garage, and to know that they got out, it's a good feeling," Emes said.
"We lost our home. We lost the majority of our material belongings, but everything that's valuable is right here with me, and the two things that aren't replaceable are right here with me," said Nils Marcune.
Marcela and Coral -- just 13 and 10 years old at the time -- knew what to do when. They didn't hesitate and saved each other.