3 with COVID-19 owe lives to girl, 17, who smelled smoke from early-morning fire

Three of the residents of the home have COVID-19 and weren't able to smell the smoke from the...
Three of the residents of the home have COVID-19 and weren't able to smell the smoke from the fire.(Courtesy photo)(Courtesy photo)
Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 1:45 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WACO, Texas (KWTX) -Three members of a Waco family who have COVID-19 and have lost their sense of smell escaped safely from their burning home early Friday thanks to a fourth family member, a teenage girl who doesn’t have the virus and was able to smell the smoke.

The fire broke out at around 2 a.m. Friday in the home at 2200 Joey Dr. in Waco.

Bianca Rivera, the 17-year-old girl who smelled the smoke, was able to alert the other three family members in time for all four to escape safely.

“I don’t really count myself as a hero,” she said.

“I would just do whatever anyone else would do for their own family I just wanted to get everyone else safe and alive that’s all I wanted that’s all I wanted was to keep everyone alive”

Flames had engulfed the house by the time the first Waco firefighters arrived.

Rivera said she smelled something burning at around 2 a.m.

“I started smelling burnt plastic and that’s when I got more alert and ran outside of my room and I couldn’t even pass the hallway because it was filled with so much smoke,” she said.

“I knew I had to wake everyone up.”

“I opened the back door and I got everyone out one by one,” she said.

Rivera also got the family’s four dogs out of the house and to safety.

“Honestly it was just me protecting my family and getting them to save it didn’t matter to me if I was going to get hurt or I was going to get burned as long as I got them out safe and sound I was going to be fine,” she said.

he family members escaped with only the clothes on their backs, she said.

She said her grandparents gathered clothing and shoes for them.

The Red Cross is assisting the family.

“Right now we are renting a motel room we are trying to find a residence at the moment,” she said.

Further details weren’t immediately available.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.