‘I just screamed’: 11-year-old San Jose girl saves family during house fire

Bay Area

SAN JOSE (KRON) — Berlin Gomez-Muniz and her father Daniel stood and stared at what’s left of the family home on thursday.  

The single-family home on north 19th Street in San Jose is a total loss.

Berlin says they lost everything.

“I lost my clothes, I lost my phone, me and mama’s makeup, I lost my Christmas presents — almost everything,” she said. 

When they arrived shortly before 7 a.m., firefighters found the home was fully engulfed in flames but everybody inside made it out safely thanks to 11-year-old Berlin, who was the first to smell smoke and alerted her still sleeping sister and parents.

“I immediately just went to my door in the hallway and I just screamed and screamed,” she said.

The fire department says Berlin’s cool headed actions almost certainly helped to avoid tragedy.  

Family members fought back tears as they took turns praising Berlin’s heroics.

“I’m really proud of her, because if it wasn’t for her, I don’t think everyone would be out of the house,” the girl’s grandmother, Leslie Muniz, said. 

As she and her family salvaged a few things from the rubble, a relative said Berlin was a fan of the TV show “Chicago Fire.”

“I just would never think something like this would happen, but then I just remembered what they did in the show for house fires and I just did that,” she said.

The community has been quick to respond.  

Firefighters dropped off new bikes for Berlin and her sister along with some more praise.

“She acted as a smoke detector. She recognized the smoke,” said Capt. Reggie Williams with the San Jose Fire Department. “She made sure he little sister got out of the house and she made sure the rest of the family got out of the house and so we are calling her a hero.”

Be that as it may, Berlin is a humble hero. 

Saddened by the loss of her cat and Christmas presents but gamely giving interviews and thanks about having given her family the gift of life.

“This little girl gave her family the best Christmas present ever — and that’s their lives,” Williams said.

“I’m just glad my sister and my parents are safe,” 

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