Teen 'a hero' after waking sister, escaping burning home


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.

"It's very blatant that if it weren't for those smoke detectors, those girls may have lost their lives today," said Dep. Chief Jarrod Emes of Union Fire Co. No. 1. of Hamburg.

The fire broke out before dawn at a house in the unit block of Berne Road, off Old Route 22, in Tilden Township.

Two girls were sleeping when a smoke alarm woke up the older sister. The family did not wish to speak to 69 News, but Emes said the big sister took her younger sister's hand and made for the back door.

"When they woke up, they were met with heavy smoke that was starting to bank down towards them and on the floors," said Emes. "They immediately recognized what was going on. They grabbed the family dog and were able to exit the home crunched down."

Officials said the smoke detectors inside the home were not hard-wired. They were battery-operated, meaning the family regularly took the time to make sure they were working.

"I think the most important thing, she never at any point really panicked. She was able to exit safely," said Janssen Herb, a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal.

Officials said the fire started in the front bedroom, and a quick-thinking girl and a working smoke detector saved the day.

"That was absolutely responsible for saving two lives today," said Herb.

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