Early on New Year's Day 2000, Alexia Milan's vigilance helped her family escape harm in a fire that destroyed their Shore Acres home.
Shortly before midnight, the family lit several candles in case of a Y2K glitch with the power company. The fire was started by a candle sitting on a heavily varnished armoire. The varnish acted as an accelerant.
Alexia, now 12, was first to spot the fire and helped sound an alarm that hurried 11 people, both family and guests, out of the quickly spreading blaze. The next week, firefighters at the Shore Acres fire station who responded to the fire presented an award to the quick-thinking fifth-grader.
"The fire department did an amazing thing (giving her the plaque). That really meant everything to her," said Alexia's mom, Isabel Scott. The award helped remove some depression and doubt for Alexia, who wondered if she had acted quickly enough.
Another blessing rose from the ashes.
Two weeks after the fire, the family rented another Shore Acres home on New Hampshire Avenue NE. One of their new neighbors was bachelor Guy Scott.
According to their mother, the kids soon began playing Cupid and on Sept. 30 she and Guy were married.
"Alexia keeps saying, "You know, Mom, maybe the fire did happen for a reason. Because if we hadn't had the fire, we wouldn't have met Guy.' "
Alexia said there has been one other change in the household: "We're going to be a lot more careful with candles."