MAHWAH, N.J. -- Sofia Doroshenko was the most popular girl at school on Wednesday.
Over and over, her classmates asked the 9-year-old to repeat how she jumped from the third floor of her burning apartment building and into the safe arms of Mahwah, New Jersey police officers.
Calm and in a crystal clear voice, Doroshenko described what she was thinking when massive flames left her with few options. Alone at the Society Hill apartment complex, Doroshenko said she saw black smoke and immediately ran to the balcony.
Below she saw Lieutenant Jeffrey Dino, Sergeant Brendan Mullin and Officer Thomas Solimano. Holding onto her stuffed dog, Doroshenko did exactly what they told her to do: jump.
Doroshenko's mother and stepfather said the little girl only came to the U.S. five months ago. Nearly every day, they said, they drilled her with safety information what to do and where to go in case she was ever alone and there was a fire.
Never did Doroshenko think her daughter would have to bring her lessons into practice.
On Wednesday, Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet awarded Doroshenko a Certificate of Courage. Laforest said the bravery of this young girl inspired many Mahwah residents to give back and help those who lost their homes and belongings in yesterday's fire.