Providence parks employees ‘didn’t think twice’ about running into burning building to save residents

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — What started out as a normal day turned into anything but for two employees of the Providence Parks Department.

David Doti and Gary Kraus are being hailed heroes after they ran into a burning building Thursday morning to ensure everyone inside made it out safely.

Doti and Kraus were driving to get gas when they saw flames shooting from the roof of a home on the corner of Byfield and Ocean streets.

“I told Gary to stop the truck,” Doti recalled. “I said, ‘here’s the phone, tell them where I’m at, what’s going on … I’m going in.'”

After calling for help, the two rushed toward the building.

“I was ready to body slam the door,” Kraus said.

But before he could do so, Kraus said a woman answered with a puzzled look on her face.

“She didn’t speak English,” Kraus said. “Her little boy started crying.”

“I knew they didn’t know the house was on fire at all,” Doti added. “They didn’t know anything about it.”

As Kraus helped the family of three escape, Doti searched the rest of the building for others.

“I have young kids too,” Doti said. “That did come to my mind when I saw the little kid. That’s why I actually went up and checked every room on every floor to make sure there was nobody else in that house.”

Firefighters arrived on scene and knocked down the flames within minutes.

Doti and Kraus said the entire ordeal was emotional for them.

“Everybody thinks I’m nuts but…” Kraus said while choking up.

Both men were treated for smoke inhalation at the hospital and released Thursday afternoon. No one else was injured in the fire.

While they’re both being praised for their heroic actions, neither considers themselves a hero.

“I just did what I needed to do. I just wanted to make sure everybody was out. I didn’t think twice about myself,” Doti said.

And this isn’t the first time Doti has been hailed a hero. A couple of years ago, when the Providence Parks Department building caught fire, he ran inside and helped the other employees escape.

The cause of Thursday’s fire remains under investigation.

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