9-year old meets her life savers

9-year-old Nevaeh Sellers, at the far right, met the firefighters who helped save her life on Monday, April 28. Sellers was found unconscious in her burning home on Sunday, Feb. 17. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Nevaeh Sellers got to check out the inside of a fire truck as part of her tour of the East Side’s Fire Station No. 7. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Rescued by firefighters, she gets a chance to thank them

When firefighters found 9-year-old Nevaeh Sellers in the basement of her home, she was surrounded by a thick haze of smoke, unconscious, and her heart had stopped beating.

Thankfully, she has now recovered and a few months later, those same firefighters had the chance to see her full of life, smiling and holding a giant “thank you firemen” sign.

Though still bearing some scars from the fire, the young girl was in good spirits and enthused to meet the group.

St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler brought the firefighters and the young girl together on Monday, April 28, to honor the firefighters and celebrate the girl’s recovery. The involved firefighters from the East Side’s Fire Station No. 7 on Ross Avenue were credited with saving the child’s life.

Sellers’ family home, where she lived with her grandparents, went up in flames the morning of Sunday, Feb. 17.

“I’m very thankful,” said the girl’s mother, Trinity Sellers, fighting back tears. “She’s my only baby. ... I’m very blessed that she’s here today, and I’m very thankful for the people that saved her.”

The flames started in the basement where Nevaeh had been sleeping.

The Sellers family woke up to fire alarms going off and heavy smoke filling the house. They fled, some barefoot, into the bitter cold to escape the fire.

When they got outside, they came to realize that the young girl was still inside.

So firefighters headed back into the house with the sole objective of finding the child.

Heading into the basement, East Side firefighter John Wolfsberger managed to find the young girl in the basement amid a pile of charred debris, in the area where the she would routinely play with toys.

Wolfsberger, with the help of other firefighters, managed to get the unconscious girl out of the house and into an ambulance.

The little girl spent nine days in the hospital, and afterwards had to share a hotel room with her grandparents.

Her grandfather Mark Peterson said, “There were four adults and three kids in one hotel room” the first two months after the fire. 

The 9-year-old was back in school by early March, and given a warm greeting by her class. Her grandparents said her classmates sent a huge bundle of cards for the girl while she was in the hospital, and had also set up a trust fund for her.

Peterson said things are back to normal, to the family’s relief. And although hesitant, the girl has since found the courage to move back into the same home, which was renovated after the fire.

Despite the challenges the fire brought the family, Peterson was able to put an optimistic spin on the endeavor: “we got a ‘new’ house out of it.”

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.


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