Good Samaritans run to rescue couple from burning house in north Columbus


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Bob Brandenstein was locking up St. Elizabeth Catholic Church Wednesday night when he thought he heard something Wednesday night.

“I was checking the doorknob and I heard someone yelling 'help'. I didn't know for sure or not, then I heard him yell 'help' again,” Brandenstein told 10TV's Lacey Crisp.

He went outside to see if he could find who was in trouble.

“I was walking towards the house, and I could hear someone yelling help again. I said 'That sounds like J.R.' When I got closer to the house I saw smoke pouring out from everywhere,” Brandenstein said.

Bob knows the couple who live inside the house on Alpine Drive just down from the church and he sprinted to help.

He was able to help J.R., the husband, out to safety.

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Brandenstein explained J.R. tried to go back inside the burning house to save his wife, Karolyn.

Bob used his elbows and broke out windows, trying to find Karolyn.

“I tried to get in, but as soon as I broke out that second glass, the smoke just came out and I couldn't get in,” Brandenstein said.

By that time the church's choir director, Rich Krehnovi, made it to the house and had called 911.

“I couldn't believe when we were in the yard how much smoke was in the house, it was lifting from the shutters, the doorways,” Krehnovi explained.

With Brandenstein and Krehnovi’s help, firefighters were quickly able to find Karolyn and get her out of the house.

“I'd do it again. I was just at the right place at the right time,” said Brandenstein.

J.R. was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and Karolyn was taken to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“Bob is a modest guy, but you know he is a hero,” Krehnovi said.

“Caring about people and wanting (sic) to make sure the right thing is done and if you want to say that's a hero, then you can say that. I don't think I am,” Brandenstein said.

While both the husband and wife were injured in the fire, their family said they are both doing fine now.