A West Caln girl has been honored by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania for what the group called an act of heroism.
Alicia Rohr, 10, of Troop 4911, received the scout's medal of honor May 28for alerting a neighboring family to a March 30 fire in the woods at the side of the family's home.
"It is given to a girl who saves the life of someone or attempts to save the life of someone," said Jeff Baxt, spokesman for the regional organization.
It was the first time that the year-old group - formed from three smaller ones - had given the award to any of its 50,000 members in its nine-county region.
"They say I am a hero but I don't feel like one," Alicia wrote in a fax for this article. (A throat infection made it difficult for her to speak.) "I just did what I had to do."
The girl's mother, Anabela daSilva, said on that Sunday afternoon, Alicia was outside with her sister, Shayla, 4, her cousin, Nina, 10 and daSilva's mother, Maria, visiting from Manhattan.
"They had just come out and they smelled something," daSilva said, "and looked over and woods adjacent to my neighbors' house was completely engulfed in flames."
DaSilva said "apparently a neighbor down the hill had some kind of fire," and "from his little bonfire of burning leaves, the whole wooded area next to our neighbors caught on fire."
She noted that "it was extremely windy that day."
DaSilva herself "was upstairs, taking a shower, unaware" of the fire.
But, she said, "Alicia was quick-headed enough to run over" to alert the neighbors, even though "she's terrified of fires."
DaSilva said that "as terrified as she was and as close" as the fire was, "she banged on the door, rang the doorbell . . . screaming."
The neighbors, daSilva said, "were completely unaware of the fire." Others had phoned authorities, she said.
Alicia is a fifth-grade student at King's Highway Elementary School, said daSilva, a stay-at-home mom. Her husband, Dennis Rohr, 42, is a maintenance man at a Phoenixville apartment complex.
Christina Farrand, with her husband, Craig, was watching TV when Alicia alerted them, Christina said in an interview.
"The fire was, maybe, 150 feet from our house," she said, but the fire did not damage the house, "not at all."
When Alicia alerted Farrand, she said, "we went outside. It was almost out when we got outside."
Farrand said she had not been able to see or hear the fire from inside the house. "No windows," on that side of the house, she said, and "pretty good soundproofing."
At the Girl Scouts organization, Baxt said that Alicia "also received two citations, one from the state House of Representatives and one from the state Senate. The City of Coatesville presented her with a proclamation."
Alicia ended her fax with: "My heartfelt gratitude to everyone."