Lifestyle & Human Interest

Couple and Dog Asleep in Home as It Burns: Stranger's 'Heroic Actions' Save Them All


One of the many benefits of living in a community is that people can look out for each other. Good neighbors are one of the most wonderful and valuable assets you can have, and one Minnesota family was reminded of that during a recent emergency.

A couple and their dog were sound asleep in their home in Hibbing, about 180 miles north of Minneapolis, on Sunday night when a fire broke out. They continued sleeping as the fire started to eat through the attic.

Thankfully, a stranger passing by spotted the flames and acted immediately, calling 911 and then moving to make sure the human and canine inhabitants were alerted and able to get out of the home.

The Hibbing Fire Department shared the story of the heroics, mentioning the good Samaritan stranger as well as a neighbor who took the couple in after they were displaced by the fire.

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“On the night of Sunday, February 19th, the Hibbing Fire Dept, Chisholm Fire Dept and Virginia Fire Dept were dispatched to a single-family home for the report of fire coming out of the attic,” the department said in a news release posted to Facebook.

“A passerby saw flames coming from the eves located in the front of the house,” it said. “The civilian called 911 and woke up the occupants, allowing them to evacuate the house safely. These heroic actions saved the lives of the two occupants and their dog.

“The first arriving unit found smoke and fire showing and declared a working structure fire. Fire crews were able to put water on the fire from the exterior while transitioning to an offensive tactic to attack the fire from inside the structure.”

The fire department went on to say the fire was quickly extinguished, though the house was heavily damaged both by the fire and the water used to put out the flames. It estimated the damages to be around $85,000.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is suspected to be electrical in origin.

“Thank you to the civilian passerby for the selfless act of alerting the occupants and to the neighbor for taking care [of] the occupants through this tragic time in their lives. This is what community is all about,” the news release concluded.

A man identifying himself as the couple’s son also commented on the post to thank all the heroes who assisted his parents that night.

“I would just like to thank the members of the Hibbing, Chisholm, Keewatin, and Virginia fire departments for being on guard 24/7 to protect the people and the community,” Donnie Richards wrote.

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“I would also like to thank Fire Marshal Rossi Gangl for getting back to me very promptly to update me on my parents,” he said. “To my parents neighbor Kelly for helping my parents after they got out of the house by giving them a warm place to stay and taking care of them throughout the night and morning.

“And finally to the Good Samaritan that was passing by and saved the lives of my parents by alerting them of the fire and helping them escape the house.

“I will never be able to thank you enough and will be forever grateful! Thank you all so very much!!!”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking