Hundreds to attend American Red Cross ball in Hartford

(WTNH Twitter/ Laura Hutchinson)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8’s Laura Hutchinson will serve as master of ceremonies as hundreds of people gather in Hartford this weekend for the 12th annual American Red Cross Ball.

The event underscores the important work of the American Red Cross, and shares stories of the incredible impact volunteers have had on people’s lives.

Laura spoke with Milca Pinero, of New Britain, about a day she will never forget. She admits she’s lucky to be alive.

Pinero called 9-1-1 after she and her son became trapped on the third floor of a West Street apartment building in New Britain last month. They were faced with a life or death decision.

“That’s when he made a decision,” Pinero said. “He said, mom we have to jump.”

Related Content: 5 sent to hospital from New Britain multi-family house fire

Her 16 year-old son jumped from the burning building, but as flames moved in on her, she froze.

“At one point I kind of gave up, if I jump I’m going to be paralyzed.”

But her son didn’t take no for an answer.

“He started screaming and said mom, if you don’t come, I’ll come back up there and die with you.”

That’s when Pinero said a prayer, and jumped too. They both survived the scary ordeal with minor injuries, but within seconds lost everything else.

She wears a red sweater as she shares her story because that’s when she discovered the power of the American Red Cross.

“I said, well we’ve got each other, but really it kind of hit me that night, where are we going to go, and the next day the Red Cross walked in.”

Volunteers helped her get back on her feet and a roof over her head.

Her story is an example of why the Hartford’s Junior Fire Marshall program is expanding into more communities and schools this year to teach people about making life saving decisions.

“It teaches things like how to check to make sure it’s safe to go out a door, versus go out a window. You feel around for heat.”

The Red Cross will be honoring the Hartford Junior Fire Marshall program for their fire safety work at its ball Saturday night. The fundraiser will ensure people just like Pinero get the help, and hope, they need when tragedy strikes.

The Red Cross is here for us. They’re taking care of us, and that’s what counts and we’re going to be OK.”

News 8 is proud to be partnering with the Red Cross at their fundraiser ball Saturday night. If you would like to get involved with the Red Cross, you can find out more at

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