On what began as a normal evening in March of 1992, a quick turn of events and the blur of maternal instinct and panic changed Princella Lee Bridge’s life forever. Princella was busy with the evening’s chores of making dinner and helping her daughter with homework when her son ran into the room to tell her the home’s heating unit was on fire. Princella went for the fire extinguisher, but quickly realized that it was time to get her family out of the burning house. Using their escape plan, the family sought safety outside.
“My son and my dad went out, and so did I. And I just assumed that my daughter went with us,” Princella says. “That’s not what happened.”
When Princella, an operating room nurse and Desert Storm veteran, didn’t see her daughter outside, she was frantic. She shouted to nearby firefighters that her daughter was still inside, then ran back into the burning home to rescue her on her own. In the meantime, firefighters had found her daughter and had begun treating her for smoke inhalation. The injuries that Princella suffered were much more serious. With burns on 49 percent of her body, Princella remained in a coma for two months.
In this video clip, Princella talks about how her life changed after being burned.
Princella has become a strong advocate for home fire sprinklers, and is featured as one of NFPA's "Faces of Fire", a campaign designed to showcase real people telling personal stories to demonstrate the need for sprinklers. Learn more about the "Faces of Fire" campaign and NFPA's efforts to promote the installation of sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes.