Woman honored for saving elderly neighbor during fire - KMOV.com

Woman honored for saving elderly neighbor during fire

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Cathryn Steps saved her neighbor from a fire in his kitchen. (Credit: KMOV) Cathryn Steps saved her neighbor from a fire in his kitchen. (Credit: KMOV)
Cathryn Steps rescued her neighbor from a house fire in North St. Louis. (Credit: St. Louis Fire Department) Cathryn Steps rescued her neighbor from a house fire in North St. Louis. (Credit: St. Louis Fire Department)
NORTH ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A woman who saved her elderly neighbor's life when a fire broke out was honored on Monday.

Cathryn Steps was honored with a Civilian Fire Rescue Award. The man whose life she saved was at the award ceremony.

It started with food left on the stove and nearly ended in a tragedy, but thanks to the quick actions of Steps, an elderly man escaped a fire in his home in March.

"We smelled some smoke and we tried to figure out where it was coming from," Cathryn Steps said in March, recalling the moment she realized something was wrong.

Steps said she and a friend were outside in North St. Louis’ Penrose neighborhood and saw where the smoke was coming from -- her neighbor's house. The fire department wasn't there yet, and she knew her elderly neighbor was inside.

"I went and jumped the back fence and went in through the back door,” she said. “The smoke was too much for me for a minute."

The air inside the home, located in the 4800 block of Margaretta Ave., was already acrid with smoke and dangerous to breathe in. But Steps knew time was a critical factor.

“I knew the old man was in there, so I went in, covered my face up and went through every room looking for him," Steps said.

Steps went room to room and finally found the man sound asleep.

“I found him in the living room laying on the couch,” she said. “He went back to the kitchen and I said, ‘Nah, man we gotta get out of here.’”

Firefighters showed up shortly after and extinguished the fire. The elderly man was unharmed.

Fire Captain Garon Mosby said seeing someone take it upon themselves to save someone else from a fire shows extreme compassion.

“She walked past the fire. She stayed low and covered her face, sort of like what I would do if I didn't have any equipment. She did a phenomenal job," Mosby said.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the kitchen, and Steps’ actions prevented what could have been a tragedy.

"I ain’t done nothing like this before. It just so happened that I was here. He’s a lucky man," she said.

Mosby added that when he spoke with Steps about her actions, she acted as if she would gladly do it again tomorrow.

“Maybe we'll go into a little bit of recruitment here," Mosby said.

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