Teen's heroics during fire 'saved six lives'

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on May 27, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Updated Monday, May 27 at 10:36 PM

Jessica Gallegos, an Ennis High School senior, is being credited with saving the lives of six of her friends.

The 18-year-old raced through a burning house Sunday morning, helping everyone escape while the house was being swallowed by flames.

A photograph shows the terrifying scene of a house that quickly became an inferno, with thick, black smoke and flames reaching to the sky.

Just minutes before the photo was taken, Gallegos and six other teens from the Ennis area were asleep in a farmhouse just south of Kaufman.

Gallegos woke up to the smell of smoke and the sound of a crackling fire. The home's front porch was engulfed in smoke and flames.

She ran through the house, making sure everyone woke up and got out.

"I woke them up, and I was yelling, 'Get out! there's a fire!" she said. "I just remember seeing terror in everyone’s faces as they were running out of the house... it was scary."

In the back bedroom was Jessica's best friend, Cheyenne Dupal, who suffered burns to her feet and hand during her race to escape.

Dupal said she and the others might not have made it out alive had it not been for the heroics of Jennifer Gallegos.

"She saved all of our lives,” Dupal said. "If she wasn't there, then we wouldn’t be here today. I’m just really happy she was there."

Dupal suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns. No one else was injured.

And while Dupal is hobbled and on crutches, both she and her best friend will cross the stage at the Ennis High School Graduation on June 7.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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