Good samaritan saves lives in Racine apartment fire

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RACINE (WITI) -- Every morning John Tate goes on a walk before work, but on his Tuesday morning stroll on April 1st, he noticed something startling.

"I saw that the right side of a door was on fire and it was about two to three feet running up the door so I started running up and kicking on the windows and doors and everything trying to see if anyone was in the house," said Tate.

A three-unit apartment complex only a half block from Tate's home was on fire.

Luckily, he got the attention of a man who had a family, including an eight-day-old baby inside.

A woman in another unit came out, but Tate went back in looking for the man who lived downstairs.

"I kicked in that door and then I ran in the house and started to scream in there 'is anybody in here, is anybody in here' and no one responded and then the smoke got pretty heavy there too so I had to exit the house," said Tate.

Loren Huxhold, who owns the building and lives downstairs, wasn't home at the time of the fire.

He was surprised by what he found when he returned.

"I waited for a fire truck to go by me on the road here and I just followed him in here and I got down close to it and the officer stopped me and I couldn't go any farther," said Huxhold.

Racine fire officials determined the fire was caused by the embers of a cigarette blowing into the home from the strong winds.

The damage is estimated at $5,000, but all of the priceless lives inside were saved, thanks to a good Samaritan.

"I kind of got a little emotional and I started tearing up and I went home and I told my wife I said I kinda think I saved someone's life this morning," said Tate.

Tate told FOX6 he plans to talk to his wife about opening their home to the family with the eight-day-old baby, if they need a place to stay due to the fire.