A Cedar Rapids man is credited with rescuing an elderly neighbor from a fire Wednesday. Authorities say it all started when 80-year-old Roberta Ackman drove home from the grocery store. She pulled her car into her garage and the engine started smoking. Her neighbor, Paul Michelson, rushed over to help.
“I yelled at her, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get out of here. You’ve got to get you out of this garage.’ She said, ‘I want to go back and get my purse.’ I said, ‘Your car is on fire,'” Michelson said. Paul guided her out and may’ve saved her life. Soon after, the fire grew more intense and spread. Paul has lived across the street from Roberta for the past seventeen years.
“Any of my neighbors would have done this, so I’m just lucky I was at the right place at the right time,” Michelson told KCRG-TV. Cedar Rapids Fire Department spokesperson Greg Buelow says the fire destroyed the car, the garage and half of Ackman’s home.
“There’s extensive fire, heat and smoke damage. Part of the roof is exposed,” Buelow said. Firefighters still aren’t sure why the car caught on fire. Roberta shared her home on the northwest side of Cedar Rapids with her daughter.
By Mark Geary, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids