Ashland Firefighter Jumps into Action, Saves Three

By KBJR News 1

March 12, 2013 Updated Mar 12, 2013 at 9:54 PM CST

Ashland, WI (NNCNOW.com) - A Wisconsin firefighter's quick thinking and bravery helped save three people from their burning home in Ashland County.

He says he was on his way home when he jumped into action.

"I don't think those people would have gotten out if I had been there or not, honestly," recalled Mike Korpala.

Korpala says he was driving along US Highway 2 last week when he spotted something in the distance.

"As I was coming down the hill, I saw fire coming out of the east side of a house."

That's when he pulled into the driveway to dial 911. But there was a slight problem.

"There was no cell reception," he recalled.

So instead he followed his instincts and went to help the people inside.

"I ran up to the door, checked to see if it was hot, cracked it open, peeked inside and there was some moderate smoke, and I could see people moving around, but not on their way out to the door, so I ran inside and what I found was the older couple and what I assume was their son trying to put buckets of water on the fire."

Korpala managed to get everyone out of the house including the owner's two dogs safely.

"Mike acted very professionally, he made his call, most people would have ran right in," said Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen.

"It's really easy to get tunnel vision and worry about your stuff, but possessions are replaceable," Korpala said.

Firefighters say the fire broke out inside the kitchen.

Officials remind people to try to get out of the home rather than trying to fight it yourself.