Rocky Mount, N.C. — 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.
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."