SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) -
(04/24/14) - Wednesday night, the American Red Cross honored several amazing community members.
One man gave the 'give of life' through organ donation, while twin sisters used their nursing skills to help a complete stranger - and another group makes Christmas merry for our men an women serving overseas.
They are all "Everyday Heroes". That includes our last honorees.
Saginaw County 911 dispatchers and Saginaw City firefighters teamed up to save three little boys from a burning house.
"My 4-year-old son, Maurico, woke me up screaming, saying 'fire,'" said Naomi Velazquez.
Inside the Saginaw home, Naomi and five of her six little boys.
"See like a orange glow, got a little bit closer and I see that most of the couch was on fire," she said.
Naomi grabbed the two boys who were awake. She planned to come back for the other three once the first pair made it to safety.
"I panicked and I ran outside to see if someone could help me, and there was a car and a lady had stopped," she said.
Chanda Kelley and Brad Davis took some of the first calls that came into Saginaw County 911.
"We pretty much know key words, and I said a little bit louder, 'OK, you got somebody in the house?'" Chanda said.
Lisa Bremer and Audrey Coffey were also working that May morning.
"That was the only major call we had going on, so we were all tuned in on it and all doing our part to make sure that we got help there," Lisa said.
"It changes it for me because now it's gone from a house fire to there's kids inside," Audrey said.
While some answered the numerous calls for help, others worked to get firefighters and police officers to Naomi's home.
"You get used to it after a while, listening to what other people are doing in case it's related to the call you're on. You want to make sure you're getting enough information or if they don't have the right information, you can ask some questions, or vice versa," Brad said.
While trying to piece together multiple calls, the team focused on finding out where the kids were in the house.
"I could hear my, one of my twins, my son Brandon, crying. And I was calling him to come to me, and he wouldn't," Naomi said.
Naomi went back inside - then the door shut behind her.
"A huge ball of smoke and everything came towards me and it was really hot, so I ran back out," she said.
"Early morning fires trigger something bad usually. People are sleeping, someone is trapped, and sure enough that's what it came in as. It came in as possibly kids trapped in the house," said Daniel Moldonado, of the Saginaw Fire Department.
"We knew before we pulled out of this station exactly what we had. Which is not always the case. And it totally, mindset wise, Eric had already devised a plan, and we all knew what we were going to do before we got there," said Todd Dittenber, engineer at the Saginaw Fire Department.
Todd only had to drive a few blocks to get the crew of three to the scene.
Information gathered by dispatchers told Lt. Eric Krenz and firefighter Daniel Moldonado the kids were on the first floor.
"He goes one way, I go the other way. I go into a bedroom, it's smoke is thick, you can't see," Daniel said.
"You just close your eyes and that's what we see. Just going all by feel," Eric said.
As they searched, Todd had his own important work outside.
"I was rigging line, getting ready in case things went bad, and did a lot of praying," he said.
In a matter of minutes, Daniel found two little boys in the bedroom.
"Once I got right on top, right on the mattress, right on top of them I could see them," he said.
He yelled for help.
"I followed his voice, came back to the room, he handed me the one child and I immediately took the child out, and he followed," Eric said.
That relief was short lived.
"Take a breath, we're done and then they say, 'nope there's a third one'. And those guys they threw the masks back on, went back in," Todd said.
Back in to the bedroom.
"I just happened to look back over and I see these little eyes laying on the ground. So I snatch him up and I run 'em back outside," Daniel said.
"It looked really, really bad. They were black from head to toe and not really responsive," Naomi said.
"Three of us just looked at each other, we met in the middle of the street and it was just a big group hug. Then we had to get back to work," Daniel said.
Other firefighters arrived to help put the fire out while medical workers checked out Naomi's five little boys.
Some had burns, others had inhaled smoke. The three boys trapped inside the home had to spend time in the hospital.
"They're all doing great. They all 100 percent recovered," Naomi said.
Twins Brandon and Landon - and big brother Aden - are full of life and full of energy.
The twins were just 14 months at the time, while Aden was 3.
Their lungs are healed, and their scars gone.
These priceless childhood moments made possible by a team of firefighters and 911 dispatchers who worked quickly, efficiently - and fearlessly.
"They're our eyes and ears obviously before we show up, they're painting a picture for us. We couldn't do what we do without them," Todd said.
"It's all about team up here. We all work very well together," Chanda said.
"There's so many things that need to be done immediately, and so we were all doing our own part," Lisa said.
"And to have a happy outcome is just the best thing," Audrey said.
"Matter of minutes, we'd be doing a different story," Daniel said.
"I think what they do is awesome, and they save lives everyday, you know, so, I'm very, very blessed and pleased that they were able to get my sons out of the house," Naomi said.