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'It's your worst nightmare': Firefighters pull girl with special needs from burning home

Firefighters said two South Pierce firefighters risked their lives to save a an 11-year-old girl with special needs from a burning home in Graham, Wash., on Friday, July 20, 2018. (KOMO)

GRAHAM, Wash. (KOMO) - Firefighters said two South Pierce firefighters risked their lives to save a young girl with special needs from a burning home in Graham on Friday.

The girl later passed away at the hospital.

Even for firefighters, the call needed them to go above and beyond; an 11-year-old girl was trapped inside her Graham home, engulfed in flames.

“A house fire with a child trapped, it's your worst nightmare, and they were faced with that worst nightmare,” said Asst. Chief Steve Richards with the Graham Fire Department.

Firefighters said the two firefighters from South Pierce Fire crawled on their hands and knees into the dark, fiery home, full of debris, looking for the child and they got out by following screams from outside.

"They had just minutes to make that grab, just minutes,” said Richards. “Talking to them, they were pretty emotional about it. It was right at the point of, 'We gotta go and we have to do something here fast and move fast.'"

It was neighbors like 15-year-old Eli Smith and others who first noticed smoke coming out of the house before calling 911.

At the time, they didn’t know the girl was trapped inside until neighbors said the girl’s mother came home, yelling for her.

Eli grabbed the woman from going inside.

“If she had gone in there, that could have been another person injured and no one wants another injured person,” said Eli. “I don't know if she would have come out OK or if she would have not even come out at all.”

Firefighters finally got the girl out and they were cleared at the hospital after evaluation.

“The firefighters went way above and beyond out there to make this rescue,” said Richards.

Unfortunately, the family won’t have a place to go; investigators said they lost everything in the fire.

Investigators said the cause is still under investigation.

The girl's name has not been released.

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