NOWTHEN - At one time or another most of us have wondered what we'd do when faced with a situation that teeters between life and death.
Well, one metro man doesn't have to wonder any more. An Anoka County woman is alive and recovering after Mike Coolidge, 54, stopped on his way to work and risked his life to pull her from a burning home.
"I just did what I had to do and that was it," said Coolidge from the hospital room where he was recovering from minor injuries suffered in the rescue.
"I was just driving to work and seen smoke going across the road. It is a neighbor that I do not even know her name, but over the years, know that she lived there," explained the metal fabricator at Pentair Company in Anoka. "Seen a fire in the window, pulled in, opened the back door, started yelling and looked down and could see her feet at the back door and got down and pulled her out."
Fire crews were called to the home of Diann Evans, 62, at 19523 County Road 5 near Nowthen around 6:25 a.m. Ramsey Fire Chief Dean Kapler was impressed that a complete stranger like Coolidge would put his life on the line when the situation called.
"We have a real hero amongst us, a passerby who put his life in danger to go in and blindly try to save another human being," Kapler told KARE 11. "It's a real neat thing."
Coolidge, who lives in Nowthen, is a father and grandfather who works as a metal fabricator at Pentair in Anoka. He said he began the rescue by pounding on the back door of the old farmhouse, built in the 1800's.
"I was standing up and there was something blocking the solid (inside) door," said Coolidge. "I had to use my hip to push that over and then I realized that you are not supposed to be standing here. You are supposed to be down below the smoke. That is what I did and then I grabbed her by the legs and pulled her out."
He says he's never done anything like this before, and is concerned about Evan's condition more than anything else.
"I'm just glad she is alive. It was kind of going through my head, I am going to have some dreams about this tonight, if she did not make it, but after I saw that she was alive and had her head up, I will sleep pretty good tonight," said Coolidge.
Evans remained in critical condition at HCMC with smoke inhalation and 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns over her forearms, arms and face Tuesday evening. Coolidge was treated at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids for hand cuts and smoke inhalation.
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