Family who lost sense of smell due to COVID-19 escapes fire thanks to unaffected daughter

Waco fire officials said Bianca Rivera, 20, alerted the rest of her family after smelling burning plastic in the early morning hours

By Laura French

WACO, Texas — A Texas family, most of whom had lost their sense of smell due to COVID-19, escaped a house fire last week thanks to one family member unaffected by the virus. 

Waco Fire Department officials say Bianca Rivera, 20, noticed the smell of burning plastic at about 2 a.m. on Friday and alerted the rest of her family after leaving her room and seeing smoke, according to KWTX

Rivera, seven of her family members, most of them battling COVID-19, and the family's four dogs all escaped the house safely. Two other family members from the residence were at work at the time of the fire. The house and all of the family's belongings were ultimately destroyed by the blaze, fire officials said. 

"This family is lucky to be alive," the Waco Fire Department said in a tweet. "@WacoTXFire would like to remind everyone to make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home." 

The Red Cross and local community are now assisting the extended family of 10 with housing and necessities.

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