LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Three Lee’s Summit firefighters recently received the department’s highest honors, the Medal of Valor for saving a girl from a burning home.

When firefighters arrived at the home this January they could see smoke showing. Journey McAfee, 10, had called 911 to say her older sister had made it out, but didn’t realize she was still trapped inside.

“Your adrenaline is pumping going to a structure fire anyway, let alone searching for a victim,” Lee’s Summit firefighter Evan Busen said.

They pulled their hose lines and breached the front door looking for McAfee. But they couldn’t see anything.

“We got inside there was heavy smoke, heavy heat couldn’t see anything but went ahead and did our search patterns,” Captain Mark Mallett said.

Once they were able to find the young girl they had to get her out.

“We were able to transfer smoothly from one to another and then able to follow a hose line out to the front door,” Busen said.

The dispatchers and firefighter paramedics who provided care on the way to the hospital have received awards –  as have those who pulled her out.

“Captain Mark Mallett, Nick Arcenault, Evan Busen’s valor and stamina in the face of great danger reflect great credit on themselves, the fire department and city. They therefore are awarded the medal of valor, the highest honor of the Lee’s Summit Fire Department,” it was announced during an April awards ceremony.

Journey McAfee was on stage with them to help hand out those honors.

“I respect them because if they are risking their lives to save others that means both them and the other person could die too,” she said.

“It doesn’t really sink in at this age what they did for her, but I of course know what they did. So I think they deserve the medal of valor every year for the rest of our lives,” her mother Jennifer said.

As nice as the honors are they say there’s only one thing better, getting to see Journey has now made a full recovery.

“To think that I get to be a part of somebody’s family getting to continue on their lives as normal as can be after a day like that,” Shawn Powell said.

“Having her come in just being able to see her it’s brings back all those memories. We went in and were able to save her life and make a difference in family’s life, that’s why we do what we do.” Mallett said.

Investigators determined an electrical outlet in the kitchen sparked the blaze. The family is staying in a temporary home while the home gutted by fire is renovated.

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