'Hero' saves man from fiery home just before explosion


A Cambridge man is being called a hero after saving another man from his burning home just before oxygen tanks inside started exploding, KARE 11 reports.

The fire broke out in a mobile home in the 2200 block of Red Pine Drive South in Cambridge shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday. A man visiting in the neighborhood, Tom Simon, went inside the burning house and dragged the occupant outside just a few moments before the oxygen tanks inside began exploding and shooting through the roof and the side of the home, according to KARE 11.

Cambridge Fire Department spokesman Corey Bustrom calls Simon a lifesaver and a hero for rescuing the resident of the mobile home, 86-year-old Phillip Virkus.

Bustrom said Simon found Virkus inside the front doorway, grabbed him and pulled him outside the burning building, the Star Tribune reports.

Bustrom said Virkus needs oxygen for health reasons. He speculates the fire started after one or more of the nine tanks inside the home caught fire.

Firefighters arrived shortly afterward and put out the fire, Bustrom said.

Virkus was taken by ambulance to Allina/Cambridge Medical Center, but his condition has not been released.

Cambridge Police Department, the Isanti County Sheriff's Department and Allina Ambulance assisted at the scene.

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