Things are finally looking up for Juanita Lueras.
“Oh, God. They’re beautiful. Thank you. Thank God I’m alive to see ’em. I can’t smell ’em, but I can see ’em,” said Juanita.
After three weeks in the hospital, she’s finally going home, but first, a chance to meet the men who saved her.
“I want you to meet the guys that were there with us to extinguish the fire and the guys that were able to pull you out of the building,” said Lt. Rudy Vigil.
“That’s what I want,” Juanita said.
It was just after 10 p.m., early February, when units were dispatched to the home Juanita shares with her husband. BCFD arrived to find smoke and flames spreading through their South Valley home.
Juanita doesn’t remember much of that night.
“The bedroom door to my husband’s room, open, with flames coming out, and that’s it,” she said.
She’s most baffled by how she ended up by the patio door. That’s where firefighters found her before rushing her to safety.
“You don’t know ’em, but you know them. It’s… It is weird – to find out that somebody cared enough to go in and drag your butt out,” said Juanita.
It’s a good thing they did. The fire damaged half of the house and smoke damaged the entire home.
“I got a burnt larynx and all that in here, and my lungs got coated with smoke,” said Juanita. “And they’re not bad but they were burnt.” Juanita extends her arms to reveal healing burns on her hands.
Now, she’s finally well enough to meet the men who pulled her from her burning home – Nic Lyon and Sam Benson.
“Hey Juanita. How ya doin’? It’s nice to see ya up and about and talking,” said Sam.
“Nice to know who did it,” Juanita replied.
The meeting’s turned her faceless heroes into friends.
“To know that they’re not strangers, not anymore. For a while, they weren’t faces or names, they were just somebody, and now I know they’re not just somebody, they’re everybody. I do thank ’em for helping me out because I know I wouldn’t be here,” said Juanita.
There were no smoke detectors in Juanita’s home. She was in the shower when smoke started filling up her bathroom. It’s why she didn’t make it out of her home. Luckily, crews had her out of the house within 10 minutes of when they were dispatched.