Updated: 08/19/2014 3:58 PM
Created: 08/19/2014 8:17 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
St. Paul firefighters honored a teen who helped pull a man to safety from a St. Paul duplex fire last month.
Sixteen-year-old Ricardo Martinez received the fire department’s highest honor Tuesday.
Ricardo was playing music with a few friends just across the street from the fire on July 21 when he saw huge flames coming from the back of the house. Ricardo sprinted across the street, not even bothering to grab his shoes. He wrapped his tank top around his face and forged into the flames.
Martinez managed to get the first victim onto the porch roof and then tried to go back for the other. Meanwhile, three other neighbors entered the smoke-filled house attempting to rescue the men but were beaten back by heat and smoke.
Firefighters arrived moments later and rescued the other man. Both victims were rushed to the hospital.
Ricardo said that going into the fire was simply the right thing to do.
“I just thought that there's a person inside, and I can do my best to try to save them," Martinez said.
For his bravery, Ricardo received a Meritorious Service Award.
St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler also awarded Letters of Commendation to Joshua Hoover, Dale Tilleskjor, and Jackie Venable for their brave attempts to rescue the victims. He also presented a Unit Commendation Award to the members of Engine Company 10 who arrived first on the scene.
Watch our previous coverage in the video box above.