NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — A couple driving home helped rescue a 75-year-old man from his burning home, but in an unexpected twist, it appears losing his home might have actually saved the man's life.
Lloyd and Tina Pfahler encountered a North Ridgeville house engulfed in flames about 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 12.
"On the way home, we saw this big ball of smoke, and as we came around the corner, you could see the flames shooting out of the garage," Tina Pfahler said. "I could see the guy inside the house."
So the couple stopped their car to help.
"I ran around and actually pulled his sliding glass door, his screen, completely off and was screaming for him, trying to find out if he had a wife or if he had children, maybe a child or a pet or something in the house," she said.
The 75-year-old man said he was the only one inside.
"He seemed a little bit disoriented, probably from the smoke inhalation, we were able to get him out," Lloyd Pfahler said.
"There were quite a few explosions during our visit," he recalled.
Lloyd and Tina then took him to a neighbor's house.
"We put him on the driveway, on the chair, covered him with a coat. I didn't know if that would bring him shock or what. He asked for water, we gave him water," said the neighbor, who did not want to reveal his name.
But then the man grabbed his chest.
"When he was sitting there, to me, it seemed a little more than just smoke inhalation...," Tina Pfahler said.
Firefighters took the man to a hospital, but according to his neighbor, doctors had to treat him for more than smoke inhalation.
"This was the way they found out he had a blockage, so (he underwent) surgery today, according to his son-in-law, and let's hope for the best for the man," the neighbor said.
There was no immediate word on the victim's condition.
The neighbor told WJW there is no question in his mind that losing his house may have actually saved his neighbor's life.
Tina suspects the same.
"I think God puts you in the right place at the right time," she said.
Investigators are working to determine what caused the fire. They estimate the damage to be about $110,000.