A North Texas woman is being called a hero after running into a house fire and bringing a 7-year-old boy to safety.
The fire started near a backyard shed in the 2500 block of Via Avenida in Carrollton. Even though a 9-1-1 dispatcher warned the neighbor not to go inside the burning house, she told NBC 5 she had no regrets.
"There's a kid inside. That's honestly the only thing that goes through your head," said 22-year-old Mariella Medina.
It was close to 11:30 p.m. Monday, and Medina had just pulled into her driveway after coming back from the gym. She could see the flames from down the street.
"First, it was just thick smoke, and then a moment after the smoke you just see the big orange flames above the tree tops – like, way above," she described. "It was like a big giant flame. It was pretty scary at first."
Witnesses said the fire started near a backyard shed, where pool equipment and other supplies where being stored. Second by second, the flames crept closer to the house.
Medina didn't know the family at all, but she ran down the street while on the phone with 9-1-1.
That's when she came upon a mother with twin infants in her arms, and she was panicked that one of her kids was still in his upstairs bedroom.
While her 6-year-old was out safely on the lawn, the woman's 7-year-old son hadn't come out yet.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher was listening in, too, and gave a clear warning.
Dispatcher: "OK, and everybody is out the house?"
Mariella: "I think there's someone still inside. Hang out. [To the mother] You stay with the baby. Where? Upstairs? C'mon. There's a fire. I swear to God, hay fuego!"
Dispatcher: "Don't go inside. Just tell everybody to get outside."
"I could just hear, I feel bad, I hear the 9-1-1 lady saying "nobody go inside" as I'm running into the house and up the stairs. I just put the phone in my pocket and I didn't think about it after that," Mariella recalled.
Even though the phone was in her pocket, the 9-1-1 audio call was still coming through clearly as Mariella found the boy in his bed.
Mariella: "C'mon, mijo, there's a fire! I need you to hurry, baby. C'mon, baby. Hurry. C'mon. Hurry. Hurry. Anybody else? Anybody else?"
Mariella helped that scared 7-year-old boy get out of his bedroom and out of the house to safety, and she says she has no regrets.
"The main priority is getting someone out. You don't have to know somebody to want to help them," she said.
Carrollton firefighters arrived moments later to put out the fire before there was major damage to the house.
The family says they're extremely grateful for their neighbor's actions, but they didn't want to go on camera, telling NBC 5 they're still trying to process all of their emotions after a chaotic and stressful night.