BOSTON (CBS) – Members of the Boston Fire Department were reunited with a South End woman and her children who they helped rescue from a balcony during a fire earlier this month.

With smoke pouring out of the home on West Newton Street, firefighters used a ladder to rescue 34-year-old Alicia Soto, who is deaf, and her daughters from the fourth floor. Soto was awoken by strobe lights and an alarm that vibrates her bed when it is activated.

At first, Soto was not sure what the alarm was for. Soon she saw the smoke and fire, woke up her children and tried to escape from the stairs. But instead, she was met by smoke so thick she could barely see in front of her. So the family headed onto a fire escape balcony.

Alicia Soto and her family receive donations from the Boston Fire Department. (WBZ-TV)

“I thought for a minute we might die. I really did before we got out. I was very scared,” said Soto.

An electrical problem sparked the fire. The family is currently staying at a hotel.

On Tuesday, Fire Commissioner John Dempsey, Local 718 President John Soares, and members of Ladder 4 and Engine 22 met with Soto and her family to present them with a check and gifts.

“I have two kids. So I’m used to holding kids and babies. I just held on tight,” said Liam Pero of Ladder 4, who helped carry the children to safety. “You never really get to see the people you help out afterwards. I hope everything works out for them.”

Alicia Soto and her children are rescued from their South End home. (Image Credit: Boston Fire Department)

A GoFundMe page has raised nearly $20,000 for the family so far. If you’d like to donate, click here.

“I’m very, very happy to have the support. I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life,” said Soto.

CBSBoston.com Staff