Woman meets man who saved her from fire in northeast Rochester - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Woman meets man who saved her from fire in northeast Rochester


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A Rochester man is being hailed a hero for his quick response that saved the lives of two people in a home that caught fire in northeast Rochester early Saturday morning.

He's a 71-year-old man who gets up long before the sun comes up seven days a week to deliver newspapers. On Saturday, he went beyond the duty of his regular route.

It started with a plea from the family on Saturday.

"We would just love an opportunity to thank the guy for banging in the door and getting in my mom's house and getting her out alive. Or I'm sure the phone call this morning wouldn't have been the one I got," said the victim's daughter, Vicky Haukom. 

"It was something right away we knew we wanted to find him, give him a big hug and let him know he's our guardian angel," said another daughter, Missy Kostel. 

But the good Samaritan remained nameless until a tip email came in who identified the man as David Johnson, a 71-year-old paper delivery man.

"I was like, this is awesome I had to quick call my sisters and let him know that we get to meet this guy that essentially saved our mom," Kostel said.

We were there as Eileen and her family met the man who saved her life.

"I got out of the car and I came over here and I went up to the front porch first but that was solidly locked and I pounded on it but nobody answered," Johnson said. 

He instead, opted to try the back door, kicked it in, and ran inside. Just as Eileen and her son escaped, the flames began to build. It took two hours for the fire department to extinguish the fire.

The fire caused thousands of dollars in damage to the top floor. But this family is still counting their blessings.

"We can rebuild this, things will be fine. There were things that were lost, but no lives were lost," Kostel said. 

But Johnson is humble about the word "hero."

"If you say so. I still just think it was something that needed to be done and I did it," he said.


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