Five-year-old Shayna Yang smelled something unusual when her dad brought her home from school in January.
“Something’s burning,” she told her father, Ong Yang.
Thinking someone had a fire pit burning, he dismissed it and instructed her to go inside.
“Something’s burning, something’s burning,” she insisted.
It was then that a loud bang from across the alley alarmed Ong Yang, who discovered his neighbor’s house ablaze and called 911. Trapped inside was 17-year-old Daphine Scott, who firefighters later found unconscious and without a heartbeat.
Tuesday morning, Scott’s mother, Janella Scott, presented plaques and trophies to Shayna and her father, doctors and the St. Paul firefighters who helped save her daughter’s life. Daphine Scott was discovered in such bad shape that rescuers didn’t think she’d survive the ride to the hospital, much less return to her family and school.
“I’m just overwhelmed with gratefulness,” Janella Scott said. “It’s so wonderful.”
After she was rescued from the fire on Jan. 31, Daphine Scott spent 15 minutes at Regions Hospital before being rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center. She spent more than a month at HCMC and then more time at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. She was released March 28 and returned to Johnson High School on Monday.
Daphine Scott is still recovering from her smoke inhalation injuries, and quickly tires, her mother said. She had to leave school Monday around lunchtime.
“She’s doing great,” Janella Scott said. “She’s winded, but she’s a go-getter.”
Janella Scott, doctors and fire officials said everything came together perfectly that afternoon to save Daphine, who was home alone when the fire broke out in the kitchen. Heavy smoke was billowing from the back of the house when firefighters arrived to the home on the East Side.
Some firefighters fought the blaze while others ascended to the upper level. The smoke was so thick they couldn’t see, and were forced to feel their way around each room looking for victims. It was in the farthest room that they found Daphine, who was rushed downstairs.
Two Regions Hospital doctors and firefighters performed CPR on her inside the house, which was still smoldering, because it was too cold to take her outside. Other firefighters broke open doors and windows to air out the house and create a safer environment inside.
Dr. R.J. Frascone was among the rescuers that day, and said Daphine Scott was brought back from clinical death.
“This is about unheard of to have a recovery like this,” said Dr. Bjorn Peterson, who also was at the scene. “Generally, we don’t see patients this sick from a fire at the hospital because they don’t even make it to the hospital.”
Daphine Scott is still recovering and undergoing physical and speech therapy.
“She’s made a miraculous recovery,” said her doctor, Dr. Andrew Kiragu,director of the pediatric intensive care unit at HCMC.
While Shayna Yang was loud and insistent enough to sound the alarm, the slight 5-year-old was fairly quiet at Tuesday’s gathering. She did like being recognized for her good deed, saying only: “It was good.”
She paused for a moment and added, “It was great.”