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First responder thanked

Posted: 12:11 AM, Dec 28, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-28 00:11:27-05

A Land O' Lakes woman is grateful to be alive and just had the chance to meet the firefighters who saved her life.

When you look at Aline Masson's home with burned up siding, windows, a collapsed roof, and piles of melted metal, it's hard to imagine how she survived inside.  But because she did, Masson was determined to find the brave firefighters who went inside that fire, risking their lives to save hers.

Kara Florek and her mother Aline Masson finally got the opportunity to hug their personal heroes Sunday, a reunion made possible by ABC Action News.  Masson was pulled from this burning mobile home in Land O' Lakes Christmas Eve.

"I never had to experience anything like this and I just truly appreciate what you guys do and the time you sacrifice with your families to save mine," said Florek.

Firefighters say it's rare that people they rescue take the time to personally say "thanks," and the first responders have been humble to the core, insisting they were just doing their jobs, and that seeing Masson alive and well is thanks enough.

"That's all we need. We don't need a pat on the back or anything like that.  Seeing her walk through that door was really awesome," said Capt. John Benchoff with Pasco Fire Rescue.

Fire crews say Masson is certainly lucky to be alive.  The fire was intense.  The roof of the trailer and an electrical line collapsed, but they still made the decision to go in after Masson.

"Neighbors told us they definitely knew she was in there, so that's worth the risk," said Capt. Benchoff.

Masson also says she remembered something from grade school:  to stay low in smoke, and firefighters say that's probably what kept the smoke and flames from overtaking her.

"You had a lot of things that worked out for you that night," said Benchoff.

"I guess I was lucky," said Masson.

Masson lost a dog and cat in the fire, but one four legged friend, her 11 year old dog Duncan, made it out safely.  Fire crews even used a special oxygen mask that kept him breathing.

"I'm just one little person and I don't amount to much, but what these guys do for just a single human life, and even my little dog's life...They risk theirs just for that.  And they do it 24/7," said Masson.

Despite all Masson's lost, she and her daughter count themselves blessed. to have heroes serving their community.