Family thanks firefighters who rescued them from burning apartment

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Family thanks firefighters for their bravery (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Family thanks firefighters for their bravery (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Little boy thanks firefighters for their bravery (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Little boy thanks firefighters for their bravery (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: Phoenix Fire Dept.) (Source: Phoenix Fire Dept.)
(Source: Phoenix Fire Dept.) (Source: Phoenix Fire Dept.)

A Valley mom and her young son and daughter are alive today, thanks, in part, to the firefighters who helped rescue them from a burning apartment.

The mom suffered burns over 38 percent of her body. Her two-year-old daughter was burned on 30 percent of her body.

And now, the family wants to say "thank you" to their heroes. And they did so during an emotional news conference at County Hospital on Thursday.

 "Thank you. fire fighters, for saving me, my mom and my sister," said 5-year-old James, as the media gathered around.

[READ MORE: Girl, 2, critically burned in Phoenix apartment fire]

The fire broke out Wednesday at approximately 7 a.m. at the Brighton Place Apartment near Central Avenue and Broadway Road.

"I smelled something from inside the apartment and looked out the window. There was a whole bunch of flames going up," said neighbor Marcus Velasquez.

When Phoenix fire crews arrived at the apartments, they found a ground-floor unit engulfed in flames.

The badly-burned mom, 24-year-old Andrea Young, had gotten herself and her 5-year-old son, James, out of the burning apartment. Young actually had tossed the little boy out of a window to safety.

But young's 2-year-old daughter, Yuna, was still inside.

So that's when some brave Phoenix firefighters rushed in and saved the little girl.

Billy Pierce was the firefighter who carried Yuna out of the burning unit.

"This is like the holy grail of firefighting," he said. "Making a difference."

Pierce went on to describe what happened.

"I pulled the line up to the front, and I saw the mom out front," he said. "She was screaming that her baby was inside. Went inside and did a quick search. Happened to look down and see a piece of a mattress. Got a little lower because of the smoke, and she was just napping there, right on the bed."

Pierce calls the rescue a total team effort.

"We've all got kids. And I don;t think any man up here would have done anything different than what I did," said Pierce.

One day later, Young and little Yuma were still being treated at the burn unit at Maricopa County Hospital.

Burn specialist Dr. Kevin Foster cautioned that while little two year old Yuna is doing quite well but that mom is not yet out of the woods.

But doctors and the family are hopeful they will recover.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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