Coon Rapids couple saves woman from fire!!
By Terry Collins
of the Star Tribune
A Coon Rapids fire official said Wednesday that a couple’s quick thinking during an early morning apartment fire was nothing short of heroic. “I have no doubt they saved a woman’s life,” Fire Marshal John Piper said about the actions of Rick Tolan and Barbara Rainwater. “I can easily say had they not found her, she would’ve succumbed to the fire, no question about it.”
Tolan, 31, was outside working on his boat around 1 a.m. when he smelled smoke coming from a first-floor townhouse on the 11400 block of Dogwood St. NW. in Coon Rapids. He ran and told his girlfriend, Rainwater, to call 911. Together, they raced to the burning townhouse and heard Catherine Clark, 55, moaning inside for help.
“We broke a bedroom window, but it was too hot to get in,” Rainwater, 36, said. “So we grabbed a bench and rammed it about three times into the sliding patio window before it broke.” Once inside, the couple held hands and called for Clark, who grabbed Rainwater’s leg. They helped her out, and firefighters arrived less than a minute later. Clark was listed in serious condition at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis late Wednesday.
“I’d like to think if I was in that situation, somebody would come in and help out,” Rainwater said. “In those situations, you don’t think, you react.”
Piper said that although the fire apparently started in a bed, its cause remains undetermined. He praised the couple, but offered a warning. “We commend their efforts,” Piper said. “However, we strongly recommend that the best thing they can do in those situations is call 911 and stay out of burning buildings.”