MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A western Wisconsin woman is alive thanks to a snowplow driver.

Tony Olson was driving his route at around 6 a.m. Saturday — there was just enough snow to be plowed.

“Anywhere where the snow didn’t blow off the road, it was slippery,” he said.

Olson was working the River Falls route he knows like the back of his hand when he noticed something was off.

“What I said I can’t say on TV, but it was like, ‘Oh my God!'” he said. “As soon as I saw the flames, I got on the radio and called the fire department.”

The house that was on fire is a house with a kennel for border collies. Olson saw a car and knew someone was inside.

It wasn’t just the fire Olson had to face — he had to jump a series of fences, stumbled onto the ground, but he didn’t give up.

“I got to the house, and she was just inside the door and she was wanting me to help her get her dogs out of the house,” he said. “I kept telling her we couldn’t go in that house, it was too dangerous.”

They got one dog out, but 13 others were inside. It was too late for them, so Olson stayed focused.

“I had to get her back around the house away from the flames,” he said.

Those who know Olson aren’t surprised.

“It sounded like something Tony would do,” his boss Pierce County Highway Department commissioner Chad Johnson said. “He took the action he needed, and there’s no doubt he saved her life.”

“It’s my nature. I help people all the time,” Olson said. “My wife doesn’t like it, but I do.”

Olson says the woman who lived in the house is understandably sad that she lost so many dogs, but grateful for his help.

The River Falls Fire Chief says it took 40 firefighters to fight those flames, and Olson was a huge help.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield