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Buckland Teen Honored for Bravery During House Fire

(WGGB) — A 16-year-old girl from Buckland was honored Tuesday for her heroic actions in a house fire last month.

Rachel Heil acted fast to get her siblings out of the house before the flames devastated the home.

“The outstanding bravery and quick thinking you exhibited has earned you the everlasting gratitude of the citizenry of Massachusetts.”

Sixteen year old Rachel Heil stands before her classmates at Mohawk Trail Regional High School getting recognized for savings lives.

Heil’s home caught fire September 7 with her younger brother and sisters inside and her parents away.

“We left to go get some milk down in Charlemont and..um…when we got back to see our road closed off…I flew down the road anyways and saw there were flames coming through the roof,” says Sandra Donovan.

Heil was in the shower when the smoke and flames began to spread

“I got out of the shower and like my house is full of black smoke and I was worried and I threw on clothes quickly and then I got my siblings and animals out of the house,” Heil explains.

Heil’s mother and stepfather had the foresight to prepare the kids in the event of an emergency like this

“We’ve gone through the plan before everybody knew what to do. The kids were playing video games and she got them out,” adds Merle Donovan.

One of those watching Heil get the award was her 12-year-old sister, Jeanie

“She’s a hero,” Jeanie says.

“[Can you imagine if you didn’t do what you did what could have happened?] Yea, we could have all died, if I dint get out of the shower when I did,” says Heil.

And because of Heil’s bravery and quick thinking, her family survives

Sandra Donovan notes, “I am very blessed I’m grateful to have my children and it’s all thanks to her.”

Local fire officials were also on-hand for Tuesday’s event.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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