Duluth Man Rescues 5 People From Burning Building

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Jul 14, 2008 at 6:50 PM CDT

Five people escaped a burning building this morning in Duluth thanks to the help of one man.
Just before nine-thirty, fire crews responded to a fully-involved building at 1923 West Superior Street.

His name Mark Howard and he entered the burning building not once, but twice to save five tenants.
Howard says he couldn't wait for help to arrive.

"I tried calling 911, but my phone failed," said Howard.

Howard was having a cup of coffee at a nearby establishment when people came in yelling that this building was on fire.
Wasting no time, Howard took matters into his own hands.

"I couldn't get into this front stairwell because of the heat, so we went around to the back, I jumped over the fence, I tried to get the steel door in the back open, but it was locked," Howard said.

So Howard ran up a wooden staircase and entered the apartment complex upstairs - pulling several people to safety.
But that was just the beginning.

"We got four people out-took them out and then I asked if anyone else is left and they said 'my brother is up there,'" said Howard.

Despite the risks involved, Mark says he didn't think twice about re-entering the burning building.

"I was crawling on my hands and knees trying to find someone and I happened to look down, you know I only had about 18 inches visibility and the floor is pretty hot -- I was worried about going through the floor and I grabbed a foot," Howard said.

Fire crews finally arrived and touted Howard as a hero.
But Mark says he was just trying to help those in need.

"I hope someone would do the same for me," Howard said. " It doesn't cost a dime to be nice to someone."

The Duluth Fire Department says damages to the structure are 100-thousand dollars and 50-thousand to the contents.
Officials say the lower level of the building contained Albertson's Instrument service repair shop and a law office.
Nobody was in the office at the time of the blaze and the cause of the fire remains unknown.

Fire officials say two adults were taken to St. Mary's hospital for smoke inhalation. Both victims were conscious and alert at the time of transport