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City hails woman as hero
City officials recognize Denisse Vega for heroism Thursday. Vega alerted residents in the Stewart Pines apartments to a fire Aug. 9. From left are Hinesville City Councilman David Anderson, Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier, Vega, Hinesville Fire Department Capt. Kris Johansen and City Councilman Kenneth Shaw. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
Denisse Vega, 26, shies away from the spotlight. She graciously made an exception Thursday when the city of Hinesville recognized her for heroism during a regular city council meeting. Vega’s quick action saved lives when she alerted 13 tenants to a fire which swept through several apartments in the Stewart Pines complex on Aug. 9.
“I happened to be there at the right time,” Vega said. “I’m just happy I was able to help.”
Vega was visiting her sister, Deliris Vega, that night. Vega saw smoke coming from the rear of one of the apartment buildings across the street when she stepped out onto her sister’s balcony for a cigarette. After she investigated further she realized the flames were spreading. Vega began banging on tenants doors, urging people to leave the apartment building quickly. One of the families she helped evacuate have a nine-month old son.
Had Vega not taken immediate action to alert residents three or four people likely would have died that night, said Hinesville Fire Department Capt. Kris Johansen.
“This is the second time in the 10 years I’ve been with the Hinesville Fire Department that I’ve seen the city give out this award,” Johansen said. “We rely on citizens’ support. The job we did that night would not have been as effective without her involvement.”
The cause of the Stewart Pines fire was ruled “undetermined,” the fire department captain said.
“We can usually tell where a fire starts but not always what starts it,” Johansen said. “Sometimes evidence gets destroyed in a fire.”
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