Skip to main content

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

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

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

image

St. Paul's upcoming Spring Break restaurant will celebrate the 1980s

The restaurant is one of two new concepts bring brought to downtown St. Paul by local Chef Brian Ingram.

Screen Shot 2022-09-27 at 11.19.05 AM

Man found shot dead on south Minneapolis sidewalk

The victim was found dead on a sidewalk in the Bryant neighborhood.

image

49th suspect charged in Feeding Our Future fraud investigation

The suspect had booked a flight to Istanbul before being arrested.

McKinleyWilkensMelendezMugsOCJ

Nearly 60 lbs of drugs seized in Rochester, 3 charged

The drugs consisted of cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and marijuana.

Minneapolis skyline

Climate change in Minnesota is clearly seen at night

A lot of warm days and far fewer chilly nights.

Hennepin County Medical Center, HCMC

Driver, 83, killed in collision with semi-truck in Northfield

The Northfield man died at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Taco Bell

Impatient driver who fatally struck woman outside Taco Bell sentenced

Tammy Renae Olson was sentenced to four years in prison.

bmw-g1a1c50760_1280

Police: Teens 'careen recklessly' in stolen BMW, Mercedes in north metro

They ended up crashing the stolen vehicles, with two arrested and two others on the run.

fire truck

Fire table sparks blaze at Edina home

The fire remains under investigation, but fire officials believe it was accidental.

money hundred dollar bills

Charges: California woman embezzled over $1M from MN employer

Mai Xiong faces several federal charges in the case.

Hsa Law Yaw Say

Shot woman who sparked appeal found injured at Twin Cities hotel

Authorities began searching for Hsa Say early Monday morning.

Related