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Rocky Mount teen honored for saving siblings from house fire

Posted June 11, 2012

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— When her home caught fire five months ago, a Rocky Mount teen put her own safety aside and hurried to rescue four of her younger brothers and sisters.

"I would risk my life for them," 14-year-old Taniya Wiggins said Monday, hours before she was honored for her heroism at a Rocky Mount City Council Meeting.

Wiggins lived at 927 Stokes Street with her mother and seven siblings. She was home with five of her brothers and sisters Jan. 5 when food cooking on the stove burst into flames.

Wiggins' mother, Tiffany Carter, had left for a quick trip to the store when the blaze began.

"I just thank God that (Taniya) was thinking to get her brothers and sisters out," Carter said.

Rocky Mount teen, firefighters honored for heroism Rocky Mount teen, firefighters honored for heroism

Wiggins saved four of her siblings – ages 12, 6, 3 and 11 months – but she couldn't get to 5-year-old Taylor before firefighters arrived. They found the girl on the floor of her bedroom three minutes after arriving at the scene.

"Looking back, it's almost like an out-of-body experience – thinking that we did that and we were there," said firefighter Bradford Price, who rushed Taylor Wiggins to safety. Price and several other firefighters were also honored by the city Monday evening.

The child spent two months at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, but has since recovered and returned home. 

Taniya Wiggins said she wouldn't hesitate to give up everything for the people she loves.

"(I just thought) about my little brothers and sisters first," she said. "I know I did the best I could."

23 Comments

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  • Jack Flash Jun 12, 2012

    awood, I know they're firefighters. I was responding to a question of why she looked like she was being arrested and identified the uniforms as "police-LOOKING," not "police." They *look* similar to police uniforms. And if your annoyance is over suspected racism, I'm not perpetrating it. I was acknowledging a too common happening in society and how the photo easily falls in line w/ that assumption. I wasn't condoning it.

  • lsdhome Jun 12, 2012

    If I'm ever faced with the same situation you faced, I hope I can find your courage and do as you did. You are an inspiration to us all.

  • Half Red Half Blue Jun 12, 2012

    "Only if its the right kind of extinguisher......a fire blanket is better for fat fires as described. The wrong kind of extinguisher can make things much worse."

    ABC rated fire extinguisher.

  • sunshine1040 Jun 12, 2012

    I know Mommie is proud of her but where is Daddy he should be just as happe that his daughter did are best to save all of his children. that was a job well done

  • awood2 Jun 12, 2012

    "Why does it look like she is being arrested?"

    I'd love to scold you for that, but unfortunately, the sight of a young African-American flanked by police-looking uniforms too often DOES mean that.

    Developmentally, teens are often self-absorbed. It's not as inherently selfish and bad as when adults are self-absorbed b/c it's developmentally appropriate to be focused on yourself at certain points in life, but it makes it that much cooler that this young woman acted so heroically and selflessly in this case.

    If you would have watched it on TV you would know that they are firefighters standing there not police officers! Get a life.

  • awood2 Jun 12, 2012

    glad to see something good being talked about in Rocky Mount. This girl did an amazing & brave thing. Her siblings & parents should he very proud of her and I am sure are.

  • Luv2Camp Jun 12, 2012

    Goog job, young lady! You are a true hero for your selfless act.

  • Tcheuchter Jun 12, 2012

    Well done girl.....and very glad that the FD made it in time to save your sister. It would have been hard living with the fact that you couldn't save them all.

    "
    It's amazing how much money and lives that $5 smoke alarms and $10 fire extinguishers can save."

    Only if its the right kind of extinguisher......a fire blanket is better for fat fires as described. The wrong kind of extinguisher can make things much worse.

  • Jack Flash Jun 12, 2012

    "Why does it look like she is being arrested?"

    I'd love to scold you for that, but unfortunately, the sight of a young African-American flanked by police-looking uniforms too often DOES mean that.

    Developmentally, teens are often self-absorbed. It's not as inherently selfish and bad as when adults are self-absorbed b/c it's developmentally appropriate to be focused on yourself at certain points in life, but it makes it that much cooler that this young woman acted so heroically and selflessly in this case.

  • RespectLife Jun 12, 2012

    Taniya you are an amazing young woman! God Bless you and your family. So happy to hear a story with a miraculous happy ending!

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