Firefighters pulled an 8-year-old girl from a burning building in Hartford last month, and today she got to thank them in person.
Shantell King was sleeping when flames ravaged her home on Hamilton Street in Hartford on Nov. 14. Her mom, Michelle Peterson, ran to wake her up, but both mother and daughter were knocked to the ground in their effort to escape. They were separated, and flames forced Peterson from the house without Shantell.
"I thought she was gone," Peterson recalled. "It was pretty much the worst day of my life."
One month after emergency responders stepped in and saved Shantell’s life, members of Hartford’s Engine 15 surprised Peterson and her daughter at the Hartford Hilton, where the family of two has been staying.
"This is something that we train for and prepare for our entire careers, and to be able to finally do something like that, especially around the holidays, it means a lot," said Lt. Russell Cook.
Peterson was reduced to tears when firefighters showed up with Christmas presents early Saturday afternoon, hugging the man credited with saving her daughter’s life. Shantell, in turn, gave them a handmade Christmas card as a token of gratitude.
"For the past couple of weeks, this has been the only thing we wanted to do, is meet the guy who saved my daughter, because without him we wouldn't be having Christmas right now," Peterson said.