MOLINE-- A Moline family is happy their home is still standing after a candle started a fire in their kitchen. News 8 has the exclusive video of the fight inside by a stranger who stepped in to help within seconds.
"I got the call from my wife; the house is on fire!" remembers homeowner Jon Ruud.
He knew the clock was ticking on August 15, 2019. His Moline home was on fire, and it was his wife's birthday. It's also the day their home could have been destroyed.
It was a candle that started the fire in the kitchen. And the person putting out the flames is a stranger to the family with no experience fighting fires.
"He did not have to do that. He's not a firefighter. It's truly a great example of protect and serve," said Ruud.
The man though, is no stranger to helping out when need be. The make-shift firefighter is Moline Police Officer Steven Murphy. He was patrolling the neighborhood that day and he happened to have an emergency fire extinguisher in his squad car. He got to the house 47 seconds after the 9-1-1 call was made.
"He grabbed his extinguisher, ran into the front door, extinguished the flames," says Ruud. "Fires are incredibly dangerous things. They spread very quickly. I'm sure the whole house could have been gone."
On Tuesday November 5, 2019, Officer Murphy was recognized for his work. He was awarded Officer of the Quarter.
And on August 15, 2020, the family has a plan.
"We'll see if we use candles on her cake next year. We'll see," says Ruud.