West Haven teen credited with saving family from house fire

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)–A teenage girl is being credited with saving her family from a burning house fire.

The West Haven fire department presented Avalon Machnicz with a prestigious award for her heroic actions after she saved her family from a burning home.

Nine people were sound asleep when an early morning fire ripped through a house on Wilson Avenue back in February.  Machnicz says she woke up to the sound of a smoke detector.

“I heard the beeping go off of the fire alarm but I thought it was the house phone,” Machnicz said. “Then I smelled smoke, and I ran out of bed and I ran up stairs into my parents room and said ‘there’s a fire.'”

Avalon sprang into action, running into her parents bedroom and waking them up. In just minutes the home was full of smoke.

“She was like ‘everyone has to get out right now because there’s an intense fire and it’s coming to get us,'” said Avalon’s mother Cheri Machnicz.

“It got smoky really quick,” Avalon said. “By the time I had time to get down the stairs the house was already filled with smoke.”

West Haven fire chief Patrick Pickering said the smoke detector and the teen’s quick actions saved many lives.

“The main message is, if you have them check the batteries and as they’re older they need to be replaced,” Pickering said.

The chief said the state needs more brave kids like Avalon.

“She’s example for every child in the state of Connecticut,” Pickering said.

“She’s outstanding,” her father Paul Lipford said. “There’s no telling what would’ve happened if she didn’t come up and wake everybody up.”

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