Canton contractor uses ladder on his truck to save several people from a burning home

6 people total were inside the home and made it out.
Updated: Jul. 15, 2020 at 10:32 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Six people in Canton are lucky to be alive, in part thanks to the help of a good Samaritan who spotted a fire at their Canton home and immediately went into action to help.

While some business people carry a briefcase or a laptop for their job, thankfully, Norman Yoder’s tools of the trade include a ladder. That’s because he put that ladder to full use not for construction but for life-saving Wednesday morning when he rescued a couple from a raging house fire.

Canton Fire Chief Tom Garra tells 19 News, “It was phenomenal that we could have a civilian just happen to be coming by with a ladder on his vehicle. And then to show the initiative of wanting to get involved versus just driving away, so that was tremendous.”

In drone video from the Canton Fire Department, you can still see the ladder in front of the house that helped a young man and woman escape from the roof -- above the front porch as firefighters battle the flames. Chief Garra credits Norman Yoder of Yoder Construction for placing the ladder there. He was on his way to a project and spotted the house fire at 915 Smith Avenue Southwest, and took action.

Yoder says, “I see smoke coming out of the house four houses down from where I was actually going. So I called 911 and ran over there as I was talking on the phone. And by the time I got over there to that house there were some people crawling out of a window to a roof.”

Yoder remarkably knew exactly what to do, and he had the equipment on hand. “So I ran back to the truck and got the ladder that was on my truck and took it back and put it up against the roof and the guy that was up there the one guy anyway he got right down. The young lady was kind of scared. But I coached her down and got her on the ground safely,” Yoder said. There were a total of six people in the house, two sleeping in the basement – and four on the second floor. The others made it out, including one who jumped off the garage roof and was taken to the hospital. The fire chief says Yoder was a tremendous help to the firefighters, and put his own life at risk.

Two dogs didn’t make it out of the fire, but firefighters did recover a pet cat who was in the bathroom. As for Yoder, he says he’s no hero. Just in the right place at the right time and just glad to help.

“That was one scared young couple there,” Yoder tells 19 News

Two firefighters were treated at the hospital for exhaustion.

The fire chief says everyone was asleep in the home when the fire broke out just after 8:00 AM on Wednesday, and that alone makes it a miracle that they all made it out.

Another home located next door also received some damage from the blaze.

The cause is under investigation.

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