It’s not everyday you get to take home a pretty-looking award and get a visit from Sparky, the Fire Dog.
Bella Montantes deserved all that recognition and more Tuesday, Dec. 3, as she was honored by the Woodbury Fire Department for probably saving the lives of her mother, siblings and others when she woke up and alerted to her family to an early-morning blaze around 1 a.m. on Oct. 28.
Bella got out of bed and ran, carefully, to her mother’s room when she heard loud noises outside her bedroom window at the Woodland Pointe Apartments on Ashwood Road. It was, most likely, the sounds of a roaring fire that woke her up.
“You could see the fire a mile away,” he said. “It was roaring,” Woodbury Fire Commander John Wallgren told Patch the morning after the fire.
Bella was given a plaque and honored by the fire department in a small ceremony, but her mother told officials she is sometimes overwhelmed by how big she was on that night.
“I keep thinking about, ‘What if she didn’t wake me up?’” Michelle Montantes told the Woodbury Bulletin. "I'm very proud."
Fortunately, she did. Michelle, Bella, three other adults and three more children all escaped harm thanks to her actions. The fire caused extensive damage. Three units at the building are unlivable and residents in three others were kept out of their apartments, Wallgren said.
Fire officials believe the discarded smoking materials were left on a second-floor balcony, Wallgren said, and by the time Woodbury Fire Department crews arrived there was fire from the ground floor to the top of the building.