House fire may have saved man’s life after discovery at hospital

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — A couple driving home helped save an elderly man from his burning home. But, in an unexpected twist, it appears losing his home might have actually saved the man's life.

Around 7:30 Thursday evening, Lloyd and Tina Pfahler encountered a North Ridgeville house engulfed in flames.

"On the way home, we saw this big ball of smoke, and as we came around the corner, you could see the flames shooting out of the garage," explained Tina Pfahler. "I could see the guy inside the house."

So the couple stopped their car to help.

"I ran around and actually pulled his sliding glass door, his screen completely off and was screaming for him, trying to find out if he had a wife or if he had children, maybe a child or a pet or something in the house," she said.

"He seemed a little bit disoriented, probably from the smoke inhalation, we were able to get him out," said Lloyd Pfahler.

The 75-year-old man said he was the only one inside. Lloyd and Tina then took him to a neighbor's house.

"There were quite a few explosions during our visit," said Lloyd Pfahler.

"We put him on the driveway, on the chair, covered him with a coat. I didn't know if that would bring him shock or what. He asked for water, we gave him water," said the neighbor, who did not want to reveal his name.

"When he was sitting there, to me, it seemed a little more than just smoke inhalation because of the way he was grabbing his chest," said Tina Pfahler.

North Ridgeville firefighters took the man to Saint John Medical Center, but according to his neighbor, doctors had to treat him for more than smoke inhalation.

"This was the way they found out he had a blockage, so, (he underwent) surgery today according to his son-in-law, and let's hope for the best for the man," said the unidentified neighbor.

"I think God puts you in the right place at the right time," Tina said.

The neighbor told WJW there is no question in his mind that losing his house may have actually saved his neighbor's life.

North Ridgeville fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire. They estimate the damage to be around $110,000.

No word on the victim's current condition.