Albert Lea teen receives citizen award after saving others from fire

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 10:33 PM CDT
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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) – “I would like to present a Distinguished Citizen Award for your life-saving efforts, on that morning. You did a fantastic job,” said Chris Bergerson, an Albert Lea Fire Fighter.

Kalia, her sisters, and her mother
Kalia, her sisters, and her mother(KTTC)

Bergerson presented the award to 14-year-old, Kalia Ann Calderon- Medrano. In January, Kalia was home with her friend and one-year-old sister, Kourtney, when a fire started.

“I kinda heard crackling noises,” Kalia said. “I started seeing smoke enter the room.”

The incident happened in the morning.

“I saw that all my curtain and my wall was on fire,” Kalia said.

Her mother was at work at the time. Instead of hesitating, Kalia sprang into action.

“I ran into my mom’s room. I woke up my friend and I grabbed my sister. And I’m like there’s a fire we got to go,” she said.

All three made it out safely.

Kalia and her friend also called 911.

“I am very, very, very proud of her,” said Rosa Marie Calderon-Medrano, Kalia’s mother. “I never thought it would ever happen to us. We’ve talked about it but never did we have an exit plan. Going through this, we are definitely going to have an exit plan.”

The family lost everything in the fire, now they only have memories of what once stood inside.

Rosa said the cause of the fire, was due to electrical issues.

Kalia’s little sister now has a bigger reason to look up to her.

Kalia said part of the reason she reacted swiftly to save everyone in the house is because of her lessons in school. She hopes her sister Kourtney learns that from her when she gets older.

“That not everything you learn in school is a joke, and you should really take it to heart,” she said.

Rosa said the family is currently living in an apartment temporarily, but she plans to buy a home soon.

The family also has a GoFundMe to help the family rebuild.

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