MINNEAPOLIS - A Good Samaritan who happened to be at the right place at the right time helped save a dog from a burning home in Minneapolis Tuesday.
Authorities responded to the fire at the home on the 3600 block of Fremont Avenue North shortly after 10 a.m. and arrived to find flames on both the first and second floors.
But before they arrived, Kevin Lerma, who lives a few blocks away, had been driving by and saw the smoke coming from the home. He said no one else was stopping, so he pulled over.
"I said, 'That's not regular smoke, that's not heat smoke,'" he said. "I'm like, nah this is not right."
Lerma, who immediately called 911, could hear the smoke alarms going off but didn't see anyone outside. So he kicked the door in and started yelling but no one responded.
"The first thing in my mind was, I hope there's nobody in here," he said.
He found the family's dog in a kennel, who was struggling with smoke inhalation.
"That dog concerned me," he said. "He wasn't moving. When I pulled him out, his tongue was hanging out of his mouth, his body went limp."
He brought the dog out and went to go back in to see if anyone else was inside, after seeing baby items in the home. By that point, the fire department had arrived and told him to pull back, as thick, black smoke was billowing out of the home.
"(They said) thank you very much for your civic duty, we'll take it from here," Lerma said.
By then, Lerma said he could see flames shooting from the home.
Luckily, thanks to Lerma's efforts, the dog survived. He even came back to make sure the dog was OK and saw the pet being reunited with its owner.
"To see the owner with the dog, now that brought tears of joy, man," he said. "That made me feel good. My day's going to be better all day today because of that."
Lerma said he didn't even think twice about going into the home. He just wanted to make sure no one was trapped inside.
"God put me in this position for a reason," he said. "He had my back."
The Minneapolis Fire Department tweeted that no one was inside at the time of the fire, but the Red Cross would be assisting the two adults and four children who lived there.
The fire was deemed under control by crews on scene around 11 a.m., though firefighters continued to extinguish hot spots.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.