MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Good Samaritan saved a mother and child from a raging house fire in St. Paul Monday night, and investigators believe it was a clear case of arson.
Rick Johann was able to rescue the woman and her 7-month-old infant girl through a window.
St. Paul Police have not made any arrests, but they have some very good leads. The woman who was rescued, Lynetta Pryor, told investigators and her own family that she saw two young teens pour accelerant on the house before it caught fire.
Johann’s girlfriend shot video on her cellphone as they raced toward the fire.
“The entire house was just bellowing out,” Johann said. “The heat was just … nothing I can compare it to.”
He couldn’t get in the front door, so he ran to the side and began checking windows. In the cellphone video, you can see him looking through a side window. It’s at that moment he saw a woman holding a baby inside, and she appeared to be in shock.
“I immediately yell at her, ‘Your house is on fire! You need to get out, you need to get out!'” he said. “And finally she comes to the window and she says, ‘Take my baby.'”
Johann took the child and then pulled Pryor out just as the room they were in was fully engulfed in flames.
Vanessa Pryor is the homeowner and sister of Lynetta. She says her sister and her baby were unhurt, and she’s grateful for Johann’s quick actions.
“We are so thankful, thankful,” Pryor said. “She’s doing good. She’s still traumatized from what happened.”
She says Lynetta and her child were visiting.
“It hasn’t even dawned on me that my house and everything I have is gone,” she said. “I’m just too thankful that my sister and her baby [are] still living.”
The heat was so intense that it melted siding on the home across the street.
Johann insists that he is not a hero.
“I’m just a regular guy in just the right place in the right time,” Johann said.
The St. Paul Fire Marshall is refusing to confirm or deny the family’s report that two young teens were spotted pouring accelerant on the home shortly before it burst into flames.