Updated: 08/06/2014 11:10 PM
Created: 08/06/2014 10:47 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
Two firefighters pulled an elderly man out of his burning home Wednesday. Those firefighters also saved one of their own, who was overcome from the smoke inside that house.
The fire happened on Simpson Road near Seneca Avenue early Wednesday morning. The two people who lived in that home are recovering. The man who was rescued from the burning house is at Strong Memorial Hospital in guarded condition. He was severely injured, but alive, thanks to what some are called the heroic effort of two firefighters who had never worked together before today.
Dave Kasenov and Mike Napoli are volunteer firefighters in two separate fire districts. They arrived at a burning house on Simpson Road at the same time. The fire trucks hadn't gotten there yet. Together, they have 64 years’ experience. Wednesday morning, it was put to the test.
Mike Napoli, Ridge Culver Fire District, said, "We spoke with the wife and she says her husband is in there. Just inside, just inside could be just in the door. It could be on the other side of the house."
They took a gamble and went inside with no air packs. Little did they know, a former fire chief who lives nearby was already inside trying to get the woman’s husband out, but he was in trouble.
Kasenov said,“He went inside and did what he did for many years for us, but he got overcome by the smoke.”
The firefighters knew they were running out of time. So again, without their air packs, they went into the burning house and brought both men out.
Napoli said, “We have to make a decision as a team. We are teamed up as a team and you are hoping, at that point, that you have guys who are ready to go in with an air pack, but it happened that it was so quick.”
St. Paul Fire Chief Bill Dyrland said, “In my eyes, they did a great job.”
Chief Dyrland says he would never recommend firefighters enter a burning building without their equipment; however, he's commending these firefighters for what they did this morning.
Chief Dyrland said, “Had Mike and Dave not gone in there, we might be dealing with a dead homeowner and a commissioner in the hospital in intensive care. It's hard to say.”
The chief is also applauding the work of the former fire chief. He says his efforts made a difference as well.