Firefighter, council member save disabled man from burning house - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Firefighter, council member save disabled man from burning house

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MAQUOKETA (KWWL) -

Harvey Untiedt called 911 at about 5:00 p.m. Sunday night to report a fire in his house.

But Untiedt uses a wheelchair and was stuck.  The fire was in the front room of his house, and the front door is the one with a ramp.

Lucky for him, two men came in just the nick of time.

Matt Tranel is a volunteer firefighter in Maquoketa.  He was on his way to the fire station, as protocol dictates, when he passed near the burning house.

"I looked over and could see the glow of the fire in the front window," Tranel said. "I decided to just go straight to the house."

Cory Simonson, a city council member in Maquoketa, lives just a block away and heard the call go out on the scanner.

"I thought I should go down there and try to help," Simonson said.

The men forced their way through the side door and called out to the man.  He didn't respond, but they could hear him coughing, Tranel said.  "That led us straight to him."

The two men crawled through the house to Untiedt, grabbed his wheelchair and began pulling him through the house.

"We got stuck on the kitchen table or a dining room chair," Simonson said. "So I took a breath, stood up and we got him turned around and out of the house feet first."

Another neighbor was there to help them pull Untiedt out of the burning house.

Firefighters showed up just a minute or two after Tranel and Simonson, but Tranel said those moments made all the difference.

"By the time they had the hydrant hooked up, there was flame coming out of the front of the house and the smoke was so heavy that I don't know if he would've made it," Tranel said.

But thanks to these two men, Untiedt was treated for just smoke inhalation and released from the hospital Sunday night.

His landlord said the house is uninhabitable and will remain that way for several months.

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