An 11-year-old girl was honored Monday for her quick action during a fire last month at her apartment complex.
"I thought I had to call the fire department because I saw smoke coming out of the house," said young Jacky Suarez. " I thought it was black, so I knew it was fire."
The City Heights girl, who was presented with a lifesaving certificate during a ceremony at Fire Station 17, spotted the fire while she was walking home. She called 911 and alerted her neighbors. She also climbed over a tall gate to unlock it for firefighters.
Fire officials said Suarez made smart decisions that potentially saved residents from injury or death, and helped minimize damage to the building.
"To be able to think that quickly and to be that brave -- it's pretty impressive for anybody, but for an 11-year-old girl, it's really impressive, and you made our jobs a lot easier," said San Diego Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Ben Castro during the ceremony.
After the presentation, Suarez and her family were treated to a hamburger lunch prepared by Station 17 firefighters.