Man Rescued From Burning Home By Passerby

DES MOINES, Iowa – A man rescued from a burning home Tuesday morning by a newspaper delivery man has been flown to Iowa City for treatment of his burns.

Fire crews were called to the 3400 block of Wright Street around 4:30 a.m., that's just south of Euclid Avenue.

Doug Ribeiro was on Euclid, delivering papers, when he noticed the smoke. He followed it to the source and found flames shooting out of the living room window of a home. Ribeiro ran to see if anyone was inside.

"I couldn't see. It was hot, it was filled with smoke. I just saw feet and I knew he needed to come out," said Ribeiro.

He pulled 58-year-old David Byrd from the burning home. Fire officials say Byrd was smoking and using medical oxygen when a flame sparked and then quickly spread.

"He was having an extreme amount of difficulty breathing. I could see the facial burns around his nose and on his cheek, his upper lip," said Ribeiro.

Inspector Ted Jefferson with the Des Moines Fired Department says Byrd was initially taken to Mercy Medical Center, but has been transferred by air ambulance to University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City. His condition is not known at this time.

"He's heroic. He didn't have to go inside and rescue Mr. Byrd, but he did and if had not been for him, we would be talking about something different right now," said Jefferson.

Ribeiro doesn't want to be called a hero. He says he was just at the right place at the right time.

"Karma. Good Karma," he said.

It took firefighters about 15 minutes to knock the fire down after they arrived, but officials says the home is considered a total loss.