St. Paul Teen Honored for Save at House Fire

Aug. 20--A 16-year-old who risked his life to save a man from a St. Paul fire last month received the fire department's highest honor Tuesday.

St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler presented Ricardo Martinez, of St. Paul, with the Meritorious Service Award. Martinez rescued a 65-year-old man through a second-story window in the West Seventh neighborhood early on July 21.

Martinez and other neighbors who tried to rescue the man and his 67-year-old brother, who initially remained trapped in the burning duplex, "took bold, courageous action" to save their lives, Butler wrote in commendation letters.

Martinez directed firefighters where to look for the other man, and they rescued him.

Butler gave a Letter of Recognition to District Fire Chief Barton Inks, and a Unit Commendation Award to the members of Engine Co. 10 -- Capt. Sean Lofgren, Fire Equipment Operator Mike Tschida and Firefighters Chris Klavetter and Nick Hannigan.

Three other neighbors entered the smoke-filled house to try to rescue the brothers, but they were beaten back by the heat. Butler awarded Letters of Commendation to Joshua Hoover, Dale Tilleskjor and Jackie Venable.

The girlfriend of the man who lived in the lower half of the house has been charged with arson in the case.

Copyright 2014 - Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.