WACO, Texas – The Waco Fire Department Wednesday awarded its Medal of Merit to Waco 19-year-old Bianca Rivera with saving family members when their home caught fire.
The fire broke out at a home in the 2200 block of Joey Drive on January 15th.
All of the other family members who were home at the time had lost their sense of taste and smell because of COVID-19. Bianca Rivera was not suffering from the illness, and smelled the smoke and got them out of the burning home – which turned out to be a total loss.
The Waco Fire Department held a special presentation for Bianca Rivera for her role in helping her family get out of the fire.
“Just to see my family’s face and how happy they were, I realize how big of a deal I impacted them with what I did,” says Bianca Rivera.
Bianca received the Fire Department’s Medal of Merit for her bravery in helping her family get out safely.
“It means everything. It means the whole thing they did today, the firefighters did for her, I asked for something like that, to be something can be made for her, because she actually was here for everyone that was in the house at the moment,” says Delmi Rivera, Bianca’s mother.
At 2:30 a.m. on the night of the fire, Bianca woke up to the smell of smoke and realized the house was on fire. She woke everyone up and helped them all get out.
“It means the whole world for me. She did the job that we’re supposed to be doing instead of her. It was really amazing that she had that courage doing what she was doing,” says Bianca’s mother.
The family has been separated since the fire, and hopes they can soon restore their home and all be under the same roof again.
“Its going to be a big day because I’m going to have our pictures of the whole family, the ones that were here at that time, and I’m going to hang them on the new wall that we’re going to have, and I’m going to have on the new wall the recognition that she got from the firefighters, it’s going to be in there. So that’s going to mean something to us,” says Bianca’s mother.
The family is still needing help and would welcome any donations.