San Diego teen honored for saving lives during apartment fire

Jan. 23, 2018 declared 'Sophia M. Righthouse Day'
Posted at 8:30 AM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 19:46:18-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The San Diego City Council will honor a local teen who risked her own life to save others during an apartment fire.

Today -- January 23, 2018 -- will be declared "Sophia M. Righthouse Day" across San Diego. On Nov. 4, Sophia helped dozens of people evacuate from their homes on Black Mountain Road after a fire broke out.

Sophia and her father Bret were driving by the complex that morning when she noticed the smoke.

"Me and my dad ran straight up to the building," she told 10News. "We started knocking on all the doors to wake up the citizens."

"It was huge, it was popping," Sophia said of the fire. "There was smoke coming out of all the windows, everywhere. It was pretty intense but at that moment I wasn't scared."

Sophia said her training from being in the Young Marines helped prepare her for that moment. She took a FEMA Certification course over the summer as well.

"I was being very firm because I knew the fire could be super dangerous," she said. "So I was telling them to get out as soon as possible. Do not grab anything, just walk out to the cement where the fire couldn't reach."

Sophia's father, a San Diego police officer, said he was impressed by her poise.

"I've seen trained personnel not react as calmly as she did. It was amazing to me," Bret Righthouse said. "One of the firemen, after the fire was extinguished, came and talked to her and told her that she did a good job."

Her story caught the attention of City Councilman Chris Cate, who wrote a proclamation to honor her throughout the city.

"Sophia Righthouse is an outstanding example of a youth that embodies patriotism, volunteerism, civic responsibility, leadership, and a passion to help others," Cate said in a statement announcing the proclamation. "Individuals like Sophia make our community better."

Sophia, a freshman at Westview High School, said she hopes to be appointed to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and study medicine. She said doesn't feel like a hero, but she hopes her story inspires others to learn how to help.

"I hope more people will get more training, more people will help the community out so that we can work together," Sophia said.