HAYTI, MO (KFVS) - When his next door neighbor came knocking on his door in the early morning hours of Saturday, Randy Ralston didn't waste any time responding.
He ran toward his burning neighbors home and kicked in Henry Whittaker's front door.
"The house had smoke coming out of it. And at first I couldn't hear Henry saying anything. I kept hollering for him and I tried to crawl into the house. A few of the burning embers fell onto my back. I was afraid I was going to get burned by that time. So I backed out, and when I did I could see Henry," Ralston said.
With his back burning and barely able to breath himself Ralston says he knew he had to try again to save his neighbor.
"When he got his arm over top of the lamp near the door, I pulled with everything I had and got him out the door."
By the time the Hayti Fire Department arrived on the scene the home was completely engulfed in flames. Firefighters didn't take long to get control of the fire. And when they found out that someone had been inside the blaze, they had this to say about Ralston's heroic actions.
"We accept that being a fire fighter that you may have to go into a burning building to save someone's life. But, for a normal citizen to that, that's outstanding," says Fire Fighter Eric Tanner.
"I think for them to risk their life to save their neighbors, it took a lot of courage for them to go in there and get him out," Tanner said.
Ralston on the other hand says courage had nothing to do with why he made the split second decision to go into the burning home.
"When Henry's girlfriend came over here and hollered that she needed help and his home was on fire, all I could do was get over there. I wasn't worried about the burning house. I was just worried about getting Henry out of the house," Ralston said.
One of the Hayti fire fighters and Whittaker were both taken to a hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. The exact cause of the fire is still undetermined at this time.