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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KARE) - When flames erupted from a St. Paul apartment building Monday night, Richard Johann didn't heed calls from police to stand back. Instead, he ran toward the fire.

"I just had a feeling that somebody was in there and I went for it," said Johann.

That instinctive reaction likely saved the life of a mother and baby inside the home on the 1200 block of Albemarle Street.

Johann pushed through a window screen and spotted the two inside. After grabbing the baby from the burning building, he helped the mother jump to safety.

"I did it without even thinking," said Johann. "It wasn't a thought, it was just an action."

Gratitude came Tuesday from the homeowner, who is the sister of the woman rescued.

She hugged Johann as news crews listened to him recount the ordeal.

"Everything inside can be replaced but life is precious. You can't put a price on peoples lives," said Vanessa Pryor.

The fire has been ruled arson by St. Paul fire investigators.

Witnesses tell KARE 11 there were two boys, possibly teenagers, playing with lighter fluid near the porch at the time of the fire.

Anyone with information is urged to call the arson hotline at 1-800-723-2020. A reward may be offered.

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