SACRAMENTO – A man who saved his children from their burning condominium is now out of the hospital and continuing to recover from the smoke damage to his lungs.
"I'm just happy that I got them. That's all that matters to me," said Deon Hill as he sat with his children at his uncle's home in Elk Grove.
Hill said he woke up to the smell of smoke on the ground floor of his condominium in south Sacramento last Wednesday, and quickly grabbed his 8-month-old twin girls, then came back to carry his young son DJ to safety.
But that still left his two year old daughter Joy, who was screaming for help from the second floor. Firefighters were not yet on scene.
"I knew I had to go in there and get her," Hill said.
Hill ran back into the burning condo, and began climbing up the stairs into smoke and flame.
"I was screaming out her name. I was yelling Joy, Joy! And I heard her screaming," HilI remembered. "I just wanted her to keep screaming so I could get closer to her."
Moments later he reached her, and grabbed her clothes, pulling her to him before going back down the stairs.
I'm just joyful that I got my babies, because when you sit back and think about it, all you got is your family," Hill said.
"I don't think most people would have had the courage to just go in there," Deon's wife Sierra said proudly of her husband.
Joy ended up with second-degree burns to her face that are expected to heal completely.
Hill had a breathing tube inserted until Monday to help him as his lungs recovered.
As Hill and his wife Sierra were talking to News10, the phone suddenly rang and a shocked Sierra told family members it was the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" calling. After the conversation Sierra made an admission to her family.
"She asked if we were familiar with her show. I never watched it…" Sierra said as her family broke into laughter.
Her unfamiliarity did not seem to matter.
"Even though you're not familiar with the show, would you be interested in going on the show," Sierra recalled the staff member asking.
Sierra said yes, and explained the family had lost everything but their two cars in the fire.
As excited as they are about the Ellen Show calling, the family said they are still focused on all they have to be grateful for.
"I just thank God for saving Deon and Sierra and her kids," said Sierra's mother Jacqueline Hippard.
Deon still coughs as he tries to clear his lungs. But he said he can only think about his family and their good fortune.
"Make sure you live life to the fullest. And make sure you cherish every moment with your family because you never when it could turn in a second."