Mikala Vish

Mikala Vish, center, with her four children, from left, Lillyanna Thompson, and Tyron, Emma-Grace, and Torin Vish

A 32-year-old preschool teacher was sleeping inside her Gregory, Michigan, apartment with her four children when flames broke out on Oct. 26, 2021. Waking to the sounds of the fire crackling, Mikala Vish removed her 11-month-old infant to a second-story deck outside her apartment front door and then returned inside to retrieve 4-year-old Tyron H. Vish, 13-year-old Lillyanna M. Thompson, and 6-year-old Torin C. Vish, taking each child to the deck one by one. On her final entry, she entered Torin’s bedroom which was in flames and searched for him. Finding him under the bed, she grasped him, and guided him toward the front door. By then flames had spread to an upstairs hallway. Vish stumbled down the stairs with Torin, falling multiple times. At one point, a ceiling panel fell onto her back. Getting up, she ran to the front door carrying Torin and then ushered all the children from the deck down an exterior stairway to the ground below. Torin and Vish suffered from smoke inhalation and serious burns. Vish had burns to 60 percent of her body. Both underwent skin graft surgeries. The other children were not injured.