St. Paul Firefighters Recognized for Heroic Rescue

Updated: 05/21/2014 1:52 PM
Created: 05/21/2014 12:33 PM
By: Katherine Johnson

St. Paul firefighters rescued a father and son from their burning apartment on April 25, and both are making a full recovery. On Wednesday, the firefighters responsible for saving their lives were honored for their courage.

We first met 3-year-old Frederick Stewart when he was recovering at the hospital. His father, Frederick Stewart Sr., was rescued first after firefighters found him lying unconscious on the bathroom floor of the apartment on the 1800 block of East Seventh Street.  After firefighters got him to the paramedics, firefighter Richard Crittenden Jr. ran back inside to make sure everyone was out.

That's when Crittenden found 3-year-old Frederick lying unconscious between the tub and the vanity.

"I went in after them to do a secondary search just in case, and I happened to find the child," Crittenden said. "Smoke was banked down to about knee level, so I got down and looked under the smoke and, sure enough, there he was."

Being a hero is in Crittenden's blood.  His father, North St. Paul Police Officer Richard Crittenden Sr., was shot and killed on a call five years ago.

"I was just glad I was able to be there that day and get that kid out," he said. "I'm glad they're on the road to recovery, and I hope I can meet him someday."

Fred Steward Sr. is scheduled to be released from the hospital Thursday.

Fire Chief Tim Butler presented letters of recognition to the firefighters and medic crews who helped save the Stewarts. Two other teams of firefighters were also honored Wednesday for rescuing a couple from a kitchen fire back in February.

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