Paper Carrier Saves Family From Burning Home

Posted at: 10/14/2013 10:48 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 News) -- A Rochester paper carrier made news of his own Saturday, when he came upon a house fire, with the family still sleeping inside. He was able to wake the family, but he left the scene soon afterwards.

ABC 6 News was the only TV station to catch the moment this afternoon, as that family reconnected with the man who may have saved their lives.

What do you say to the person who saved your life? For Ilene Haukom it was simply thank you.

Dave Johnson was doing his daily paper route at four in the morning Saturday when he noticed the second floor of Ilene's home was in flames.

"I was surprised that'd he'd actually go inside, because who knew how bad that could have been on the inside," said Ilene’s daughter Liz Hauger.

But Dave says he didn't even hesitate, eventually breaking into the house.

"I saw flames coming from the roof and I parked my car, I left it running with the car door open, I pounded on the front door and then went around to the back door, I had to kick in the door to get inside," said Dave Johnson.

Dave remembers Ilene coming out of her room in confusion. He says he yelled for her to get out of the house before checking the rest of the home.

"I tried to go upstairs and I got about half way up and the smoke was too much, I had to turn around it was so filled with smoke," said Johnson.

Turns out Ilene's smoke detectors were not working. If Dave hadn't woke her up, there's no telling what may have happened.

Either way, Johnson says it really wasn't a big deal.

"It was just simple, just doing what needed to be done, I'm just glad they were able to get out safely, “ said Johnson.

But for Ilene and her family, the paper carrier's actions mean more than he could ever know.

"Four o'clock in the morning now that, we're just thinking she's definitely being watched, you know someone was watching out for her, we we're just so lucky that somebody was going by at that time," said Hauger.

Fire investigators believe an extension cord may be to blame for the fire.

Insurance agents were at the home Monday looking into the damage and how long it will take to get Ilene and her son back into their home.

Dave Johnson is a paper carrier for the Star Tribune.