Man who saved 10 people from burning home gets St. Paul's top award


April 1 was an unusually hot and windy day across Minnesota; conditions that spawned several house fires.

One St. Paul family lost their home to flames that day but all 10 of the people inside survived, thanks largely to the lifesaving efforts of Donnell Gibson. Gibson was recognized by the city Tuesday with the St. Paul Fire Department's highest honor, the Meritorious Service Award, FOX 9 reports.

Gibson, 29, was on his way to work at the Rice Street Recreation Center in St. Paul when he saw three children standing in front of a burning home on Front Street.

By the time he made a U-turn and came back to help, the children had gone back into their home. Gibson explained to the Pioneer Press that when he followed them to convince them to leave the burning house, he found two women inside, as well.

Once safe, one of the women indicated there were more people inside, some of whom were apparently sleeping upstairs. Gibson wound up making several trips into the home, and tells WCCO "I was not going to leave without everybody leaving with me."

This embed is invalid

WCCO says city officials have lost contact with the family that was displaced by the fire, so they did not attend Tuesday's ceremony.

The fire was attributed to winds that downed a power line and quickly fanned the ensuing sparks.

KSTP notes that the Meritorious Service Award normally goes to professional firefighters – although last year it was also presented to a civilian, 16-year-old Ricardo Martinez, who used a ladder to climb to the roof of a burning duplex and pull a man to safety.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman joined Fire Chief Tim Butler at Tuesday's presentation to Gibson. Coleman had also cited Gibson's bravery when he delivered his State of the City speech this spring, MinnPost reported.

Next Up

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 19

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been field yet and the staff member has not been identified.

cook county schools

Investigation after assistant principal displays "joke" Gadsden flag during announcements

"My apologies to anybody who was offended by that part of the snake that was on that comic and it's been taken down."

Forest - orono, Minnesota

Report: Forests, agricultural land could help Minnesota reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The Nature Conservancy's Minnesota chapter released a report that shows how many acres of trees would be needed to help the state reach its reduction goals.

University of Minnesota

U of M will halt admissions to 12 PhD programs

The move is expected to help address the school's estimated budget shortfall of $166 million.

snow, plow

NWS says 'increasing potential for an impactful winter storm' this weekend

Nothing is certain yet. The weather service advises Minnesotans to monitor the forecast.

Mike Lindell, My Pillow CEO.

Under-fire Mike Lindell claims retailers have dropped MyPillow

The MyPillow CEO is seeing receiving backlash as he continues to share conspiracy theories about the election.

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Antoine Winfield Jr. says playoff win was "for my pops back in '09"

The son of the Vikings legend did not forget about "Bountygate."

Jared Vanderbilt

Shorthanded Timberwolves fall to Atlanta in Monday matinee

D'Angelo Russell scored 31 points, but didn't have much help.

police lights

Man, 72, critical after possible robbery outside Minneapolis business

The 72-year-old sustained gunshot wounds in the incident.